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The biggest and best day on the Canberra racing calendar comes around this Sunday where it is Black Opal Day. The weather is fine, the track is good (4) and the rail is out three metres for the entire circuit.

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Race 1. (13:00) TAB Federal Maiden 1200m

Back Me

I think 4 Timandjack (Bet Now: $7.00 PROMO ODDS) can win the first. The Dryden/Collings stable trains this bloke, who resumed over 1000m here a couple of weeks back and was held but far from disgraced when third to Flying Yankee, who does look above average, so that form isn’t bad for this, and the Blinkers go on, hopefully to sharpen him up for this 1200m assignment.


Ugly, ugly watch if you were on 2 Promesa (Bet Now: $2.60 PROMO ODDS) last Saturday at Goulburn. I think you have to blame the ride and tactics from McDougall. Probably could have held the inside and lead if he wanted, instead opting for cover and from there it was an ugly watch. I will say though that he was out in time to make more ground on the winner I felt, but was unlucky all the same. Bowman takes over and has to be respected.

Long Shot

Third up from a break, 8 Glamour Cruise (Bet Now: $11.00 PROMO ODDS) should just about be ready to show her best. Did a good job first up against the track pattern at the Sapphire Coast before racing on the Kensington track where he bumped into a potential Group l horse in Classique Legend. Hopefully gets firmer footing this time around, hard fit and has the inside gate, so she ticks a few boxes.

Race 2. (13:35) Seears Workwear Handicap (65) 1200m

Back Me

12 Barbara Mary (Bet Now: $17.00 PROMO ODDS) on top for me. This Danny Williams trained filly did a good job on debut over 1200m before stepping back to 900m at the Sapphire Coast where she was there to be beaten in the straight but found and ended up drawing clear, beating A Thousand Degrees, who bolted in next start, so the form reads well, and back up to 1200m is a big tick.


11 Super Cyclone (Bet Now: $5.50 PROMO ODDS) is a progressive filly for the Bjorn Baker team. Landed some good bets when winning first up at Cessnock before going to Scone where she was tardy away, back last in a leader dominated affair, but made ground late and was good despite pulling up lame post race. Early market support for her is a good lead and should get over from the gate.

Long Shot

Not sure he wins, but for multiples, I’d be including 10 Balonne (Bet Now: $26.00 PROMO), who is second up for the Dryden/Collings yard. Resumed over 1200m at Nowra where he had a relatively good run just off the speed but failed to come on behind Greyt Weekend. Should do no work from the inside gate, Jay Ford takes over…he did tease on a few occasions last time in.

Race 3. (14:10) Camarena Quality 1000m

Back Me

Hoping we can get some decent odds about the Trevor McIlrick trained 6 Got The Goss (Bet Now: $21.00 PROMO ODDS), who resumes here after having a stint with Darren Weir. He’s been an outstanding campaigner for a number of years, and did seem to be enjoying life under the care of Weir. He seems to save his best when produced fresh and his jumpout at Camperdown in January looked more than encouraging to the eye. Think he can run a bold race at odds.


2 She Knows (Bet Now: $5.50 PROMO ODDS) does look the obvious horse to beat. She’s been quite good in two runs back from a spell, the latest at Rosehill when trying as she always does but was held when third to Malahat. Drops a fair bit in depth this time around IMO and Bowman is back on. Has to carry 60kg but is a proven weight carrier, so she’s likely to be popular with punters.

Long Shot

11 Nicof (Bet Now: $51.00 PROMO ODDS) is a Neil Osborne trained sprinter who could surprise here at odds. Thought his resumption at Hawkesbury was full of merit, sitting back off the speed and closing off well late when fourth to Captain Courageous. He is a second up winner, loves the 1000m and should sit off a genuine tempo and hopefully have last look with luck from the gate.

Race 4. (14:45) Canberra Guineas 1400m

Back Me

The weather will be the key because if the fine weather forecast is correct and the track gets to the good range, I’m keen to bet on 2 Coterie (Bet Now: $5.50 PROMO ODDS). Thought he was excellent first up at Warwick Farm behind Fiesta before going to Rosehill where he was dipping and diving on the wet track and couldn’t really let down when third to Archedemus, who looks well above average. Inside gate, Winkers first time, firmer footing…looks an ideal race.


1 Yulong January (Bet Now: $4.20 PROMO ODDS) looks extremely well suited up to 1400m for the Maher/Eustace team. Resumed in the Zeditave at Caulfield where they absolutely crawled in front, with this tucked in behind, keen in the run and it was more or less a barrier trial for him. Up to a pet trip, Bowman on and looks as if he could get to the front without doing too much work.

Long Shot

10 Mookareena (Bet Now: $34.00 PROMO ODDS) looks one of the better local chances. I think you have to put a line through her run last Saturday at Goulburn. Just had to lump the big weight and young Courtney Gillman couldn’t really get stuck in to the filly when wanting an effort. Gets weight relief, on her home track and senior jock takes over. Appeals as a knockout chance.

Race 5. (15:25) National Sprint 1400m

Back Me

He’s a veteran and at times can be hit and miss, but the potential is there for 2 Snippets Land (Bet Now: $4.80) to get the run of the race, so I’ll go his way. Ran in the Liverpool Cup last Wednesday and I thought made up good ground from off the pace behind dominant winner Dreamforce. He draws immediately outside the go forward type in Oriental Runner, so I’m hoping he can get the cart over and land one off the fence, then get cover.


1 Flow (Bet Now: $2.80) looks the key threat. He ran over 1400m at Flemington last time where he had a good run near the speed and for mine I thought he had his chance when fifth to Streets Of Avalon. Like the top tip, he’s a horse who likes to get rolling from the front, as we saw in the Carrington behind Tom Melbourne in a gutsy effort. Bowman can take his time coming over from the draw.

Long Shot

10 Who’s Knocking (Bet Now: $9.00) is the pick of the locals. She’s in a real purple patch at the moment and will take some beating if the breaks go her way. Unleashed a brilliant finale to win the prelude to this race a couple of weeks ago, clocking some of the better late splits of the day. Would love it if this race was 1200m, but even at 1400m, I think she still appeals.

Race 6. (16:05) Canberra Cup 2000m

Back Me

Any hint of give in the track and I think 10 Domed (Bet Now: $14.00) is worth having something on. I think John Thompson has her flying. Should have won under the lights at Canterbury last time but had no luck when second to Bull Market. That track was rather firm and she’s a mare who improves big time when she gets her toe in, but this prep she is running so well on firm ground. Think $18 is way overs.


3 Allergic (Bet Now: $15.00) is another that looks at silly odds. He has faced wet tracks in both runs back from a spell and I don’t think he’s been too bad IMO. Last run came in the Parramatta Cup where it was run at a brutal speed and he found the line well behind Red Cardinal. Bit of a drop in depth this time around and being third up, you’d like to think peak fitness isn’t far away.

Long Shot

Has 7 Sayed (Bet Now: $12.00) been set for this race? Early on in the prep, he was racing like a complete busted but the last couple of runs have been encouraging and the signs are there that he’s heading in the right direction. Ran last Saturday at Randwick and wasn’t beaten far when fourth to Goathland. Home town Cup, you’d like to think he’s ready. Knockout chance in a tricky race.

Race 7. (16:45) Black Opal Stakes 1200m

Back Me

Just going the way of 3 McLaren (Bet Now: $4.50) but I don’t think the Slipper winner is running here. He had a bit a boom on him off the trials before the debut win, where he scrambled in. Then went to the Silver Slipper where he did too much work and was probably outclassed behind Time To Reign. I’m hoping he can stalk All Cylinders and get the ideal drag up via that galloper.


9 Rome (Bet Now: $1.95) is probably the best horse in the race but for mine is just too short. Has had two career outings for the Snowden camp, running fourth in the Breeders Plate before a second in the BJ McLachlan behind Sun City. Has had the little break between runs and comes here off one soft 740m trial win. If he had a couple, yes, I’d be on, but one trial might leave him suspect at the end of a likely strong 1200m.

Long Shot

11 Pin Sec (Bet Now: $6.50) is a daughter of Lonhro for James Cummings that is first up. This girl hasn’t raced since Boxing Day at Randwick when producing a brilliant finale from the back to nail the gallant Hafaawa right on the peg. Bear in mind she was four wide no cover for the trip so a fair effort to win despite that run. Thought the Canterbury trial was solid enough and she draws to get the suck run.

Race 8. (17:30) Canprint Communications Handicap (65) 1400m

Back Me

Want to give 3 Fun Tickets (Bet Now: $5.50) another chance. He ran in the Goulburn Country Championship Qualifier last Saturday and on face value, he was disappointing, but I’m not sure the rock hard track was to his liking. For mine, much better suited with a bit of cushion and Canberra usually provides that. Bowman booked noteworthy and this is a significant drop in depth.


16 Dublin Diva (Bet Now: $5.00) is an O’Reilly mare for the Bjorn Baker team who hasn’t done much wrong in two career runs to date. Savaged the line to win on debut at Orange before going to Nowra where she was pushed hard to lead and that early burn saw her without petrol tickets at the business end when bloused. Ridden with cover and patience, I think she’ll be more effective.

Long Shot

Fascinating runner is 8 Charcol (Bet Now: $46.00), who is first up. He hasn’t raced since November 11 over 1800m at Gundagai when a solid fourth to Tyres Are Crucial, beaten under three lengths. 1400m first up tells me there has been enough work put into him to run well, he draws soft…I’d want to see some sort of push in the market, but if he goes in everything just in case.

Best Bets & Quaddie Tips

BEST BET: Race Four Number 2 Coterie

NEXT BEST: Race Seven Number 3 McLaren

LONG SHOT: Race Three Number 6 Got The Goss


Quaddie Tips (Races Five Through To Eight):

Leg One: 1, 2, 8, 10

Leg Two: 2, 3, 7, 9, 10

Leg Three: 3, 5, 9, 11

Leg Four: 3, 6, 8, 15, 16

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