City V Country Feel to Friday’s Lightning Ridge Plate

The countdown to Black Opal Stakes Day is on in earnest with Friday’s running of the Affinity Electrical Technologies Lightning Ridge 2YO Plate.

The traditional lead up to the Black Opal, the Lightning Ridge has attracted 10 nominations — and they are split evenly between leading local yards and powerful Sydney stables.

Peter and Paul Snowden, who have enjoyed Black Opal success with Epaulette and Defcon, have nominated Bondi for Friday’s race.

Bondi last raced when unplaced in the Magic Millions 2yo Classic on the Gold Coast, following a third in the Wyong MM.

Richard Freedman guest speaker for Autumn Lunch

Now in its third year running, The Thoroughbred Club of Australia – Canberra Branch Annual Autumn luncheon, as a prelude to the John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes has quickly grown to become a highlight of racing’s social calendar, with previous events all selling out, previous speakers engaged include Gai Waterhouse and Gerry Harvey.

Single Gaze up with the best

The deeds of the bonny Canberra mare Single Gaze over the spring and in Saturday’s CF Orr Stakes confirm her as one of the best performed mares in Australia.

Single Gaze has a Timeform rating of 118 off her Caulfield Cup placing.

Current Timeform ratings for Australian mares

Winks (134)

Jameka (124)

English (121)

Bonneval (120)

Aloisia (119)

Single Gaze 118

In Her Time 118

Sheidal 118

Alizee 118


Owners of racehorses and Mercedes-Benz vehicles will be among Canberra’s whose who at one of the upcoming pre-celebrations of Canberra racing’s event of the year. 

On Thursday evening, 15 February from 6pm to 8pm the elite Mercedes-Benz showroom in Fyshwick will celebrate the impending Black Opal Stakes with a lavish cocktail party. Among the guests will officials, racing ambassadors, local racing identities and socialites. 

The $5000 trophy and black opal pendant will be on display in the showroom as well as the Riharna Thomson Memorial Bracelet.

Single Gaze sizzles in Autumn debut

Canberra-trained Single Gaze is on track for a cracking autumn campaign with an outstanding second behind Hartnell in Saturday’s G1 CF Orr Stakes at Caulfield.

The Nick Olive-trained mare burst through late on the rail to just miss and looked unlucky.

The 1400m was expected to be too short for Single Gaze first-up off the 3200m Melbourne Cup, but Olive said the Caulfield Cup runner-up had come back in best-ever order and so it proved.

Fun times for Fun Tickets

Trainer Matt Dale captured his first “Federal” when Fun Tickets was tough to the line winning at Friday’s Canberra meeting.

Fun Tickets was one of two Dale winners on the card, the other being promising 3yo filly Further To Fly.

Friday saw the third running of the $50,000 Federal and all have been taken out by Canberra-based trainers.

Dale was full of praise for the Federal concept; introduced by the Canberra Racing Club when Canberra-trained horses were excluded from Highway Handicaps in Sydney.

Luke Pepper Has Viceroy On Target For Canterbury

Canberra trainer Luke Pepper says sprinter Viceroy is right on his game for Friday night’s BM 70 at Canterbury.

Viceroy will be peaking off a couple of unlucky Saturday city runs with Tye Angland riding off a low draw.

Viceroy relishes Canterbury having won 2/3 at the venue including first up three runs back.

Pepper says Viceroy goes into the race mentally and physically on-song thanks to a mixture of swimming, jumping and regular track work at Thoroughbred Park.

Pepper says the horse is good natured, a pleasure to train and enjoys racing.

Nick Olive Unveils Black Opal Stakes Prospect

Canberra-trainer looks to have another promising youngster on his hands following Sizzling Belle’s win in Saturday’s 2yo Plate at Rosehill.

The Magic Millions-purchased filly hit the lead in the straight with Kathy O’Hara aboard and held off Outrageous who came hard.

A bit of a Single Gaze lookalike, Sizzling Belle will target the $275,000 Black Opal Stakes to be run on 11 March on Canberra’s Super Sunday.

Jockey Patrick Scorse — ‘A Chip Off The Old Block’

Talking racing and race riding with Patrick (Paddy) Scorse is a pleasure.

The 19yo Canberra-based apprentice heads the ACT Jockey Premiership, and presents as a well-grounded individual; articulate, thoughtful and professionally-focused.

His ambition is to be a leader in his craft.

The son of respected former leading rider and Sky Racing host John Scorse is rapidly shaping as ‘a chip off the old block’.

‘Dad’ couldn’t have been more proud when ‘Paddy’ rated Always Court beautifully in front to win the recent Narooma Cup. 

Melbourne First For Fell Swoop

Fell Swoop’s liking for Melbourne will see the classy Canberra-trained sprinter head south for the start of his autumn campaign.

Trainer Matt Dale is confident Fell Swoop will regain his best form after he pulled up with the thumps when placed last in the $10 million Everest at Randwick in October.

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