An Opal fit for a Queen
Compact filly Queen of the Ball proved that size isn’t everything when making every post a winner in the 2022 Group 3 John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes (1200m). The Michael & Richard Freedman-trained Queen of the Ball justified her favouritism and booked her spot in the world’s richest race for two-year-olds, the Longines Golden Slipper.
After jumping around mid-field, the daughter of I Am Invincible was able to take up the lead by the first corner. It was a masterful frontrunning ride by Rachel King who become the first female rider to take out the Black Opal Stakes in its 49-year history.
Upon straightening it looked Custodian’s race to lose before Queen of the Ball found again, kicking clear to win by length, holding off the fast finishes of Warby and Metallicity.
Trainer Michael Freedman was thrilled with his filly’s performance.
“It was a terrific performance having to work so hard from the wide gate.” Freedman said. “She certainly had to do it at both ends.”
“She’s only small but she’s as tough as old boots.”
Freedman is happy with the way Queen of the Ball has pulled up as she looks to be just the second horse to do the Black Opal Stakes – Golden Slipper double after Frank Cleary’s Catbird in 1999.
“It’s a great unknown how she will handle the six day turn around but on face value she’s back to her bright self and she’s eating up well.”
Queen of the Ball has drawn Barrier 3 in the Golden Slipper barrier draw and is currently a $15 chance with TAB.