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A bumper card of racing has been assembled for Canberra 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.

Race 1. (13:10) TAB Federal Riharna Thomson Maiden Handicap 1200m

Back Me

10 Secret Copy (Bet Now: $7.00) on top for me in what looks a very tough maiden to sort out. This is a daughter of Snitzel trained by Matty Dale who hasn’t been sighted since debuting back in October when looking very sharp in placing in a trial here. Blinkers on first time, and usually when headgear is played around with for a first start/first up run, there is intent to run well. Draws horribly, but I’ll side her way.


3 Flight Commander (Bet Now: $10.00) is on the quick back up for the Nick Olive camp after debuting last Sunday at Wagga where he seemingly had a good run behind the speed and tried to come on but was very one paced to the line behind impressive winner Sei Stella. Back on his home track and gets Angland steering, so there are a couple of positives.

Long Shot

4 Havelka (Bet Now: $11.00) was pretty good on debut before racing at Albury last time out where she was backed as if unbeatable but gee whiz I thought she was most disappointing in only managing third after starting deep in the red. Another that draws terribly but has young Scorse on and he does get on really well with the Joseph/Jones runners.

Race 2. (13:45) Canprint Communications Handicap (65) 1400m

Back Me

Thought 2 Fun Tickets (Bet Now: $4.60) was a great bet here. Just over a fortnight between runs for the Matty Dale camp since racing over the Goulburn mile where I thought he should have won had it not been for the nasty check he copped early in the race, and the fact they crawled in front. Did a mighty job to get as close as he did. Should be more speed here and he’ll be strong late.


1 Can She Kiss (Bet Now: $4.80) is a mare that is absolutely low flying at the moment for the Dryden/Collings team. This girl has won her past three, the latest coming over 1300m at Goulburn at the same meeting mentioned above where Heywood got the inside split upon straightening and the mare dashed right away for an absolute spank job. Not the greatest of records on her home track, but in career best form and gets Bowman.

Long Shot

I think 12 Chadana (Bet Now: $15.00) could be the improver here at odds. She resumed over 1200m here a tick over two weeks back where she looked to travel into the race quite nicely but I reckon the last 100-150 she just ran out of condition. She is a winner second up, 1400m is ideal, should get good cover and launch late.

Race 3. (14:20) Seears Workwear Camarena Quality 1000m

Back Me

I know he’s a bludger but at $7.50/thereabouts, I’ll have something on 2 Guard Of Honour (Bet Now: $7.50). Fab win first up as a gelding at Muswellbrook after doing all the work in the run, and the two runs since have been just plain to the eye, but I thought last time at Randwick there was really good depth to the race, with Faraway Town coming out and winning the Triscay after. I think if Bowman can get cover and cuddle him, we might see the best from this horse.


8 Clipper (Bet Now: $4.80) is a really good mare for the Matty Dale team. She was sent to the Valley to resume in a 955m race and I thought she did a really good job in defeat behind Dance With Fontein because she got a bit lost on the turn as the leader/winner sprinted, losing momentum, but her last 100m was very good. Back on her home track and Tim Clark knows her very well.

Long Shot

Very wary of 6 Sugar Bay Leonard (Bet Now: $11.00). Joe Pride trains this son of Encosta De Lago who hasn’t raced since the Hurricane during the Newcastle Carnival in the Spring where nothing went right for him in a total forgive behind Grand Condor. I like what I have seen from him in the two barrier trials and he does go well fresh.

Race 4. (14:55) Affinity Constructions Australia P/L National Sprint 1400m

Back Me

Well what about 7 Old North…(Bet Now: $5.50) he had been a bludger for a couple of years for the stable and punters but James Cummings has done something with him and it’s working. Trialled brilliantly prior to going to Doomben where they opened him $26. Punters said thank you, backing him down to $6.50 and he won like Winx. Can he repeat the dose? It is Old North, but you can’t ignore the resumption.


6 Girl Sunday (Bet Now: $5.00) had a bit of market support when resuming in the Millie Fox, with the likelihood of a soft lead, which is what happened, and she looked the winner for most of the straight but just felt the pinch the last couple of strides when second to Daysee Doom. Can perform second up and maps well again.

Long Shot

4 Sir Moments (Bet Now: $13.00) is a very, very interesting runner for mine. Former Queenslander trained by Steve O’Dea that is now with the Joe Pride team after an inglorious run in the Sunny Coast Cup behind Most Important. Has trialled up okay in Sydney in preparation for his first run with Pride, and we know he is a great trainer at improving tried horses.

Race 5. (15:40) XXXX Gold Canberra Guineas 1400m

Back Me

Thought 4 Albumin (Bet Now: $6.00) was a great bet here. Gerald Ryan trains this three year old gelding, who was sent to Caulfield to resume in the Zeditave and I thought he did a fabulous job in defeat, working home with real purpose and clocking some great splits behind Overshare. Don’t think there is as much depth here and hopefully he improves.


Trusting the eye with 12 Ridicule (Bet Now: $3.30). Don’t think she beat much last time out at Canterbury, but the manner in which she did it and how easy it was, gee she was impressive. No qualms with 1400m and if you listen to Brad Widdup and the connections, they say this is the best filly they’ve got in the stable. Big wrap. Hopefully she can live up to it.

Long Shot

5 Let It Roll (Bet Now: $27.00) is one of the better chances of the local contingent. This one is trained by Nick Olive and this lightly raced son of Not A Single Doubt led throughout to win the Cup Prelude here over 1600m. Bensley turned it into a real sit/sprint and with the younger, fresh legs, that was the winning move. I think back to 1400m is ideal and he’ll be strong late.

Race 6. (16:20) Tab.com.au Canberra Cup 2000m

Back Me

I’m going to go with the old boy 4 Jacquinot Bay (Bet Now: $7.50) to win his second Canberra Cup. He won it in 2014 and not sure if he’s going as well this time around but he certainly does bring some strong form to the race. He comes through the Peter Young at Caulfield where he was outclassed on paper and ran accordingly behind Gailo Chop, but far from disgraced. This looks his right level and for mine he looks great overs.


10 Almost Court (Bet Now: $7.00) is the pick of the local brigade and he’ll make his own luck. Toughed it out strongly to share the spoils with Emperor’s Way two back before running at Randwick last Saturday and probably didn’t let down as well on the sticky track behind Just Shine. He’ll give a great sight. Last 100m will be the test.

Long Shot

9 Lord Kingsley (Bet Now: $15.00) is the interesting runner. He resumed in the Parramatta Cup and I was expecting him to do much more than he did. He got out the back and didn’t really come on at all behind More Energy in what was and still is a tricky race to sort out. But on ability, he is certainly up to beating these.

Race 7. (17:00) John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes 1200m

Back Me

Looks a lovely race for 3 Encryption (Bet Now: $3.30). Wasn’t sure how he’d go in the Black Opal because I thought the stablemate Plague Stone had his measure, but the run of Encyrption from the back was enormous behind Written By, spotting them an impossible start yet still finished off with real purpose. He’s already ticked the 1200m box and has the superior form.


12 Sizzling Belle (Bet Now: $4.60) is a ripper for the Nick Olive camp. Three for three, the latest win coming in the Lightning Ridge over the 1000m when Kathy walked them in front and dashed the final 600m for what was a pretty soft win. Clearly more depth and unknown at 1200m, but all you can do is win and that is what she has done to date.

Long Shot

8 Handle The Truth (Bet Now: $8.50) is a nice looking filly for the Dryden/Collings team who gave them a galloping lesson on debut at Wagga before contesting the Lightning Ridge where the slow early tempo probably didn’t help her, plus she was slightly held up but once clear, she finished off strongly to only go down narrowly. I think, if cuddled, she’ll get 1200m, and she does have a turn of foot.

Race 8. (17:40) Mane Lodge Handicap (65) 1200m

Back Me

4 Conquest (Bet Now: $2.80) for me in the get out. Team Snowden trains this three year old, who returns to racing as a gelding along with a bit of tinkering with the headgear. Trialled like a bomb last week at Randwick, winning by nearly five lengths and running good time relative to the morning. If he can overcome the gate, he’s the one to beat.


11 Prince Jacko (Bet Now: $11.00) doen’t have the greatest of winning strike rates for the Dryden/Collings team but despite that, he does try very hard. He ran over 1400m here last time out in the Federal where I thought he loomed to win the race but just didn’t quite see out the seven furlongs. Back to 1200m ideal and Angland steers.

Long Shot

3 Tiger By The Tale (Bet Now: $11.00) was very confidently backed when racing over 1300m on his home track at Goulburn a tick over two weeks ago and I thought he was a bit disappointing to the eye behind Can She Kiss because I thought he seemingly had his chance to run on, but just no match for the in form mare. Won a strong Highway back in November at Rosehill, so we know the talent is there. Just depends which version turns up.

Best Bets & Quaddie Tips

BEST BET: Race Five Number 4 Albumin

NEXT BEST: Race Seven Number 3 Encryption

VALUE: Race Three Number 2 Guard Of Honour


Quaddie Tips (Races Five Through To Eight):

Leg One: 3, 4, 5, 12

Leg Two: 2, 4, 9, 10

Leg Three: 3, 5, 8, 11, 12

Leg Four: 3, 4, 11, 12, 13

$50 Investment= 12.50% of the dividend if successful

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All odds are subject to change. Odds listed are correct at the time of the latest update.

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