Trainer Matt Dale Previews His Black Opal Stakes Day Chances

Leading Canberra trainer Matt Dale goes into Sunday’s Mercedes Benz Black Opal meeting with positive expectations about his key runners.

In Race 2 the Canprint Communications BM65 he has the market favourite Hermosa Beach as well as Cries Of Joy — who is on the second line of betting.

“Hermosa Beach has done well since her run in the Country Championship heat,” Dale says.

Arab Dawn Heading To Canberra Cup

Last-start Parramatta Cup winner Arab Dawn is heading to the nation’s capital for Sunday’s Listed tab.com.au Canberra Cup.

The Godolphin import drew gate two in a field of 12 for the 2000 metre quality handicap over 2000 metres.

Arab Dawn was a Listed winner at Rosehill at his last outing, just his second Australian start after commencing his career in England where he was a Group 3-placegetter.

The grey carries 57kg at Canberra with James McDonald taking the ride.

Wide Gate For Defcon In Black Opal

 Peter and Paul Snowden have a decision to make after Defcon drew a wide gate for Sunday’s Mercedes-Benz Canberra Black Opal Stakes at Canberra.

The boom colt has gate 11 in the field of 13 for the Group 3 race for two-year-olds over 1200 metres.

Defcon is also an acceptor for the UNSW Todman Stakes at Randwick on Saturday, where his stablemate Capitalist is also entered.

Defcon has been a boom juvenile since scoring a dominant win in an early season barrier trial in Sydney.

Gerry Harvey Keynote At Black Opal Stakes Luncheon

Racing owner and entrepreneur Gerry Harvey is guest speaker at Thursday’s Thoroughbred Club of Australia luncheon in Canberra.

The annual luncheon is held as a prelude to Sunday’s Mercedes-Benz Canberra Black Opal Stakes — the Capital’s premier race day.

The luncheon continues to grow in popularity. In 2015 there were 187 attendees who were thoroughly entertained by leading Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse. And 240 will attend Thursday’s event.

Canberra Trained Gallopers Perform On Big Stage

The rise of Canberra as a training destination was no better illustrated than by the performance of two of its stars in Group competition over the weekend.

Matt Dale’s Fell Swoop was beaten a lip in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield, while Nick Olive’s Single Gaze (also) placed second in the Group 2 Surround Stakes at Randwick.

To cap things off, Luke Pepper’s Appoint Percy duly saluted in the Highway Plate at Randwick as the market anticipated.

Defcon Heads Black Opal Nominations

 Interstate horses dominate nominations for Sunday’s rich Mercedes Benz Black Opal Stakes for 2 year olds at Canberra.

Defcon from the Peter and Paul Snowden yard looks the stand-out nomination.

But other classy types including the David Hayes-Tom Dabernig-trained Lionhearted and unbeaten Queenslander Dieters from the Jason McLachlan yard, are sure to demand attention.

Only two locals feature in the 19 nominations, Keith Dryden’s Balonne and Nick Olive’s Fox Tales.

Appoint Percy A1 for Randwick — Trainer Luke Pepper

Former Kiwi Appoint Percy looks well-placed to rack up his second Australian win in tomorrow’s TAB Highway Plate (1600) at Randwick.

The Canberra-trained gelding won an Albury BM65 (1400m) at just his second outing for the Luke Pepper stable — and just missed two weeks ago in a TAB Rewards BM71 (1550m) at Canterbury.

Pepper says everything has gone to plan since Appoint Percy arrived from New Zealand.

“He’s improved every start,” Pepper says.

Canberra’s Biggest Race Day Looms

 Canberra’s premier racing event – Black Opal Stakes day - is just over a week away.

The Canberra Racing Club is confident that the festival like atmosphere and quality racing will achieve record breaking crowds to celebrate the region’s biggest race day.

The Club is hopeful of cashing in on another strong two-year-old season by attracting a crack field to the $275,000 Mercedes-Benz Canberra Black Opal Stakes (1200m) on 6 March 2016.

Black Opal Hopes Present In Sunday’s Lightning Ridge Stakes

 It is the Lightning Ridge Stakes at Canberra on Sunday and that means Black Opal Stakes Day is just around the corner.

The Black Opal meeting on Sunday 6 March is jammed full of features including the $275,000 Group 3 Mercedes Benz Black Opal Stakes run over 1200m for 2 year olds.

The support events include the $200,000 Listed Canberra Cup (2000m); the $125,000 Canberra Guineas (1400m) for 3 year olds; and the Listed National Sprint Quality Handicap (1400m).

Nominations for the meeting close on 1 March.

Bring A Secret On Track For Goulburn — Nick Olive

 The first of the Sera Country Championships Qualifiers kicks off at Goulburn on Saturday with strong Canberra participation as expected.

The well-performed Nick Olive-trained Bring A Secret is sure to be well-fancied.

Olive says the Sebring 3yo looks back to his best.

“He disappointed early in the campaign and just was not himself,” Olive says

“It was a mental thing more than anything and that’s why we dropped him back in class and gave him a couple of easy kills.

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