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Nominations for the 2023 Canberra Racing Carnival

Nominations for the two-day Canberra Racing Carnival have been released with 31 two-year-olds in contention for the Group 3 John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes (1200m) in what is the 50th Anniversary of the race on Sunday, 12 March 2023.

A huge 269 nominations were received for the 17 races across the Carnival where nearly $1.2m in prizemoney will be won.

Canberra Racing Club Chief Executive Darren Pearce is excited by the nominations across both days.

“The quantity and quality of the nominations is very pleasing with the 50th Anniversary of the Black Opal Stakes shaping as a particularly special event.”

“We’ve attracted to Blue Diamond favourite and a number of seriously talented two-year-olds that I can see competing for Group One glory over the Autumn and beyond.”

“It’s certainly shaping as a field worthy of the celebrations surrounding the 50th Anniversary of our greatest race.”

Canberra’s premier race has attracted nominations from leading Sydney stables with Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott, Peter & Paul Snowden, Chris Waller, James Cummings, Annabel Neasham, Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, Bjorn Baker, Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou, Team Hawkes, Gary Portelli and Michael Freedman all represented.

The Sydney brigade features a number of exciting talents including Steel City (Maher & Eustace), the Blue Diamond pre-race favourite and Introducing (Waterhouse & Bott) who are both in the market for Golden Slipper at $21 with TAB.

The ETS Refrigeration Black Opal Preview (1000m) winner Legolas (Baker) looks likely to return to the Nation’s Capital after a narrow victory a fortnight ago ahead of Allaboutella (Michael Freedman), who joins him in the nominations for the Black Opal Stakes.

For the local’s, Todd Smart’s Love Shuck has been nominated for his home feature after a comfortable maiden victory at Albury while Gratz Vella’s Chop The Ice has been a picture of consistency in his three race starts to date. Norm Gardner’s Miss Ghent rounds out the trio of locals looking to become the first locally prepared horse to win the Black Opal Stakes since Gratz Vella’s You’re Canny in 2011.

John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes nominations.

Day Two of the Carnival, 13 March 2023, is highlighted by the Listed TAB Canberra Cup (2000m) with Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott’s Sacramento on track for another berth after winning the race in 2022.

Sacramento is one of 14 nominations for TAB Canberra Cup with John O’Shea, Kris Lees, John Sargent, Jason Coyle, Matthew Smith, Team Hawkes, Bjorn Baker and Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, all entering talented gallopers.

Ciaron Maher & David Eustace look to hold a strong hand across both days of the Carnival and have nominated the triple-Derby winner Explosive Jack and French import Normandy Bridge (FR).

TAB Canberra Cup nominations.

Acceptances for both days of the Canberra Racing Carnival are on Thursday, 9 March with the live barrier draw for the John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes & TAB Canberra Cup held from 12pm that day in the City Centre, adjacent to the Canberra Carousel.

Pictured: Sacramento for Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott may return to Thoroughbred Park in pursuit of back-to-back TAB Canberra Cups