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Stars amongst Opal and Cup Nominations

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Stars amongst Opal and Cup Nominations

A strong contingent of two-year-olds have nominated for this weekend’s 2021 Group 3 John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes (1200m). Full sibling to 2018 Golden Slipper winner Estijaab, Remarque trained by Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes is currently a $13 chance with TAB to replicate the exploits of his champion sister. Remarque headlines a great group of nominations with includes the Silver Slipper quinella in Chris Waller’s Home Affair and the Wagga trained Rocket Tiger. The latter who debuted at Thoroughbred Park has been a revelation for Trainer Scott Spackman.

“He means the world to us this horse.” Spackman said. “My wife loves him to bits, before he had his first start we were sitting in our shed with a few mates having a beer and she said we’ve just got to buy him. The rest is history. God knows where it ends, I haven’t got to the bottom of him yet.” Spackman said.

While Spackman remains keen to tackle the $250,000 John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes he hasn’t ruled out the Todman Stakes at Randwick on Saturday 6 March.

 “It’s been a dream of mine to win a Black Opal, or just have a runner to be honest, but we’ll do what’s best for the horse. We’d prefer Canberra because of the shorter trip and he’s obviously seen that place before but it’s wherever he draws a gate he’ll go to be honest.”

A total of 27 talented two-year-olds have nominated for the John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes with the eight race card attracting 146 nominations. Day 2 of the Canberra Carnival has proven just as popular with 145 nominations across the meeting including 26 in the Listed TAB Canberra Cup.

Geelong Cup winner Steel Prince (IRE) is amongst the nominations for the 2000m feature worth $250,000. The Anthony & Sam Freedman galloper is joined by stablemate Le Don De Vie (GB) who is about to embark on his second Australian preparation after being imported from the UK.

Collide (GB), another import identified by Australian Bloodstock may follow a similar recipe to that which saw the Kris Lees-trained Mugatoo (IRE) victorious in the 2020 TAB Canberra Cup. While Lees won’t go as far as saying he’s got another Mugatoo (IRE) on his hands, he’s confident the stable has another talented European-bred stayer on their hands.

“I’m not saying Collide is as smart as Mugatoo but he’s very talented and I think he’s got a very bright future in front of him.” Lees said.

Collide (GB) a son of the legendary Frankel (GB) and will be having his first Australian start this weekend in the TAB Canberra Cup or the Randwick City Stakes.

“We’re fifty-fifty at the moment but we’d love to come down to Canberra again” Lees said. “We’re confident going into the weekend that even though he’s first up and will take improvement from the run, that he will be competitive.”

 Local Maid of Ore ran third in the event last year and returns for another tilt at her home town cup while Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott have entered their emerging stayer Sacramento who is no stranger to Canberra after winning a Class 1 at the Canberra Carnival one year ago.

 

 

 

Full list of John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes nominations:

 

Horse

Trainer

1

GLISTENING

Richard & Michael Freedman

2

PRETTY WOMAN

Matthew Dale

3

HOME AFFAIRS

Chris Waller

4

READILY AVAILABULL

John Sargent

5

CAPTIVANT

Peter & Paul Snowden

6

ROCKET TIGER

Scott Spackman

7

SWIFT WITNESS

Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

8

CONSTRUCT

Peter & Paul Snowden

9

REMARQUE

Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes

10

RUBY KISSES

Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou

11

DIRECT

Lloyd Kennewell

12

HEAD OF STATE

Chris Waller

13

BACCHANALIA

James Cummings

14

KALASHNIKOV

Peter & Paul Snowden

15

AKIHIRO

Gary Portelli

16

MISS OSTEND

Norm Gardner

17

BOURBON FLYER

John Thompson

18

TESTIMONIAL

James Cummings

19

KOOLED

Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes

20

LOVEMETENDER

Anthony Cummings

21

LEASE

Anthony Cummings

22

AWE

Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes

23

ENCYCLOPEDIA

Todd Smart

24

POKER DICE

Keith Dryden

25

SOLAR WINDS

Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes

26

CHILL

Anthony Cummings

27

MOKULUA

Clarry Conners

 

Full list of TAB Canberra Cup nominations:

 

Horse

Trainer

1

AUSSIE NUGGET (IRE)

Anthony & Sam Freedman

2

BALANSA

Keith Dryden

3

CALIFORNIA LONGBOW

Peter & Paul Snowden

4

COLLIDE (GB)

Kris Lees

5

DADOOZDART (GB)

Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes

6

ENTENTE

Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

7

HE’S A GIVEN

Clarry Conners

8

HUSH WRITER (JPN)

Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

9

KAAPFEVER (NZ)

Joseph Pride

10

KISS THE BRIDE (NZ)

Bjorn Baker

11

LE DON DE VIE (GB)

Anthony & Sam Freedman

12

MAID OF ORE

Nick Olive

13

MISSYBEEL (NZ)

Bjorn Baker

14

MOUNT POPA (IRE)

Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes

15

MR MARATHON MAN (GB)

Richard Litt

16

OUTBACK DIVA

Richard & Michael Freedman

17

PATHS OF GLORY (GB)

Richard & Michael Freedman

18

SACRAMENTO

Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

19

SELINO (GB)

Chris Waller

20

SOLDIER OF LOVE

Bjorn Baker

21

SPIRIT RIDGE (GB)

Mark Newnham

22

SPUNLAGO

Ron Stubbs

23

STEEL PRINCE (IRE)

Anthony & Sam Freedman

24

THE LORD MAYOR (NZ)

Chris Waller

25

UPPER HOUSE

Norm Gardner

26

WHISKEY JACK

Todd Smart

 

Photo credit: Bradley Photos

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