Racing and Sports Canberra Racing Preview Sunday 8 March Black Opal Stakes
The rail is out 3m the entire and on Friday afternoon the track was rated a heavy eight with more showers likely. They will likely race away from the rail. Strong and very competitive fields as you would expect. The final composition of the Black Opal will be known after Sydney scratchings on Saturday morning.
Race 1 (1200m) BM65
Concrete, Milamoo and Polyxena will be prominent early. KATHAIRE (8) is well-seasoned for the heavy-track slog and comes off the lip defeat at Albury running a peak. Has placed 5/11 on soft ground and gets her chance in an even contest. CONCRETE (2) will handle the wet better than most and is ready to strike off the two near-misses. Gets the weight drop and back up to the 1200m won’t bother. Draws low and Rawiller’s booking is a good push. POLYXENA (3) peaks back in grade and was too keen the latest at Canterbury running favourite. Draws out but that might not matter and Bowman is a key engagement. ELENARA (6) brings competitive figures from Scone and Dubbo. He’s won on the slow with today’s jockey aboard (Lever) and has to be considered. BET: Kathaire rates well off the latest and gets the nod.
Race 2 (2000m) CL1 Set Weights
Sacramento will run them along from Dip Me Lid. SCICONIC (5) comes to peak for a Sydney yard on a 5 day return. Thought good enough to be tried in a Group 1 at the back of the last campaign and up to the middle distance should suit. He will race handy from the rail and the heavily-backed soft track placing two runs back at Newcastle was good. SACRAMENTO (4) led and won the Queanbeyan Maiden by 6L resuming heavily-backed at the mile. Needs the middle distance now and has a near miss in the Flemington Open 3 at 1800m under the belt. Is right up to this and just has to manage the soft ground. HOLY SUNDAY (3) won the Scone Maiden and then missed a lip in the BM58 on the heavy. He ticks the wet box and is looking for the middle distance. Bowman is a key booking for the city yard and the gelding should go close. DIP ME LID (1) deserved the Maiden win at the mile and then he led missing a lip here at this trip. That was a very tough effort and he’s a genuine chance drawn to advantage. BET: A terrific race with Sciconic the bet.
Race 3 (1400m) BM 65
Echo Lad will likely lead for Gai and Adrian and is a market watch resuming. There’s a sense of timing about GIRLS ARE READY (2) third-up and he’s well-placed with the 3kg claim for a handy apprentice. She’s won twice in town on heavy tracks and will give this a shake if presented on song. MOOKAREENA (9) has just missed the last two in better grade with the latest in town. Runs along and relishes wet conditions. Gets Sherry’s claim and is a winning chance. FUSCA (8) is also third-up and presents off a solid effort here in Open grade. This is much easier and Bowman’s booking is a decent push. ECHO LAD resumes for a Sydney yard off two trials and with the blinkers back on. May need one, but his best is more than good enough and elevate if the later market moves his way. KARMAZONE (11) is on the up and also deserves consideration. BET: Another good contest. Leaning to Girls Are Ready.
Race 4 (1200m) Maiden
Speculative how the large field of Maidens settle. This $40,000 Maiden is a dead-set lottery on paper with five horses sharing early favouritism at $6.5. The market will be more instructive closer to post time. GAMBLER'S QUEST (7) resumes for the Dryden yard off a lip defeat here running as favourite. That was a peak and the in-form McDougall rides first time. Draws okay on the wet track and expect the barn to have him fully wound up this time around. Stablemate SCARLEO (2) placed here on debut in a strong form race and then ran on well in the Open 3. Like most in this race the jury is out regarding wet-track ability, but he also has race experience and Rawiller is a key jockey booking. MARK'S KINGDOM (4) debuts for the sharp Matt Dale yard and has trialled well. Expect him to have good ability and be ready to go. BUDDEROO BLITZ (3) has looked good at the trials and a bold debut is on the cards. Loy sticks from the latest (which he won at Wagga), but has to do a good job managing from the rail on the likely deep track. ZELAGO (16) has shown plenty and is also a genuine hope for the popular local stable. Needs scratchings to get a start. BET: Going with Gamblers Quest each way.
Race 5 (1000m) Open
Early speed right across the barriers with a number capable of leading. Handle The Truth is a clear early favourite, but doubt there’s much between the better ones. BLACK MAGNUM (6) won as expected resuming on the Kensington and then finished it off okay as favourite in the BM94 at Rosehill. He has plenty up the sleeve and recorded his career peak on a heavy city track. He’s promising and looks up to winning this. HANDLE THE TRUTH (1) flies first-up and was just knocked off as favourite the latest in Listed grade as favourite. He’s won twice on heavy tracks and Rawiller’s booking is a strong push. He’s the saver. RARE EPISODE (3) won the BM78 on the Kensington and then was just beat the same grade at Randwick running a career best. Has been freshened and the soft ground form is good. WAGNER (2) represents a leading yard and has been kept up to the mark following two heavily-backed efforts in Melbourne when not far away. Might need to find a length, but gets Bowman and that’s a push. MOSSMAN GORGE (12) will run along for a top Canberra yard and is some hope racing at peak. BET: Black Magnum each way. Handle The Truth the saver.
Race 6 (1400m) Geocon National Sprint. Open Listed
Early pace from Cuba, and Mercurial Lad and expect speed too from some of the wider drawn. A terrific contest. There’s a sense of timing about CUBA (6) third-up off two solid on-pace efforts at Randwick. He makes his own luck at jockey Tim Clark knows how to win at carnival time in Canberra. This fellow relishes wet tracks and expect him to be tough to roll. SAUSEDGE (12) isn’t advantaged by the weight conditions but couldn’t have been more impressive beaten a lip resuming in the lead-up race 16 days ago. She stormed home from the back in that and Berry takes over today. Had posted a strong career peak in town prior and has won and placed her only two soft ground runs. Looks primed to take the next step. KEN'S DREAM (2) represents a leading yard and will relish a deep track. Runs along and rates well on the Caulfield near-miss two back. Hasn’t won for a long time and that’s the query. WRENS DAY (1) gets Bowman and needs to be kept well onside. The French import did nothing resuming but would win this by a space if he found his best form. Keep well onside. BET: Going with Cuba each way.
Race 7 (1200m) John McGrath Auto Black Opal Open Group 3
A number of these are accepted as well to race in Sydney on Saturday so expect scratchings. As the stand CELLSABEEL (13) is clearly the one to beat. Demolished the field resuming on the heavy at even money and then ran favourite in the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes and pulled up with an issue. Wins this if she comes and is presented on song. RETURN WITH HONOUR (1) placed third-up in the Group 3 Canonbury Stakes and has won a Rosehill trial since. Gets a key jockey switch to Bowman and he should be right in it. BARTLEY (2) and BARBARIC (3) both resume for the Snowdens and are sure to come back further improved. The market will sort them if they start, but Bartley appeals most on what we’ve seen. TAMERLANE (10) debuts for Godolphin and has trialled well with McDonald up. He is down to ride the above and Rawiller is booked. No surprise if the colt races boldly. BET: Cellsabeel appeals.
Race 8 (1000m) CL1
Eltham Place can lead and there will be a number to pressure. EXOTIC DEEL (8) brought strong form to resumption at Albury and won the Maiden easily. She is a promising galloper in the making and can win again for the premiership yard. FOR LOVE (2) comes to peak third up and hasn’t been enjoying much luck. She has plenty to give and can make the finish. ELTHAM PALACE (4) will run along and has been knocking on the door. Draws to advantage and Berry takes over from the apprentice. PISA MY HEART (3) has had three runs back and should be ready to show her best. Had no luck at Randwick the latest and will get every chance with Lever riding from a handy gate. BET: Backing Exotic Deel to win.