, Black Opal Stakes Preview - Canberra - Canberra Cup Day
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Black Opal Stakes Preview

The Black Opal Stakes is a Group 3 event for two-year-olds that takes place in March each year at Canberra racecourse in Canberra, ACT. The race is run over a distance of 1200 metres under set weight plus penalties conditions and is worth $300,000 in prize money. The 2020 Black Opal Stakes was won by Barbaric from Bartley with Cellsabeel third.

The Canberra Racing Club conduct racing at Thoroughbred Park in Canberra and the Black Opal Stakes is the feature race of the club's premier race day of the autumn, alongside the listed Canberra Cup & National Sprint.

The Black Opal Stakes was first held in 1973 with Rich Reward the inaugural winner. The race was upgraded from listed to Group 3 status for the 2014/2015 racing season and is set to become the ideal lead-up race to the Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill.

Black Opal Stakes info

Date: Sunday 7th March 2021
Track: Canberra racecourse, Canberra
Distance: 1200 metres
Race Type: 2yo - Set Weights + Penalty
Status: Group 3
Prize Money: $300,000
2020 Winner: Barbaric

The Black Opal Stakes is a race for two-year-olds only and the upgrade to Group 3 level makes it an attractive proposition for any 2yo gallopers wanting to test themselves over the same distance as the the $3.5M Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes, the most prestigious 2yo race of the Sydney autumn,

Catbird (1999) is the only two-year-old to have taken out the Black Opal Stakes & Golden Slipper Stakes double since its inception. Decision Time (2010) went on to finish runner-up to Crystal Lily in the Golden Slipper after winning this race.

A race such as the Group 3 TL Baillieu Handicap at Rosehill may be on the agenda for any two-year-olds looking for easier black type success and Takedown (2015) was the last galloper to claim the Black Opal Stakes & TL Bailleiu Handicap double.

The weighted conditions of the Black Opal Stakes favour the better gallopers engaged and over the years some talented, speedy gallopers have won this race. Horses of the ilk of Criterion (2013), Epaulette (2012), Decision Time (2010), Paint (1996), St Covet (1994), Maizcay (1987), New Atlantis (1985) and Blazing Saddles (1977) have all etched their name on the Black Opal Stakes honour roll.

More recently, Black Opal Stakes winners have gone on to taste success at the highest level. Trapeze Artist (2017) went on to capture the Group 1 Golden Rose and Group 2 Expressway Stakes at Rosehill, while Criterion (2013) captured the the Group 1 ATC Derby at Randwick. Epaulette (2012) took out the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 at Doomben during the Brisbane winter racing carnival.

Pin Sec (2019) resumed from a spell to win this event in impressive fashion for trainer James Cummings and recent Black Opal Stakes winners include Encryption (2018) and Trapeze Artist (2017).

2020 Black Opal Stakes result

1. $5.50 Barbaric 56.0 Kerrin McEvoy
2. $5.00 Bartley 56.0 James McDonald
3. $2.60 Cellsabeel 55.0 Tommy Berry

then followed
4. $21.00 Aftermath 56.0 Tim Clark
5. $5.50 Return With Honour 56.0 Hugh Bowman
6. $41.00 Obligatory 56.0 Michael Dee
7. $26.00 Lady Of Luxury 54.0 Jason Collett
8. $9.00 Tamerlane 56.0 Nash Rawiller
9. $101.00 Spicy Restaurant 56.0 Glyn Schofield
10. $201.00 Mr Maharaj 56.0 Aaron Sweeney
11. $151.00 Little Krakatoa 56.0 Adam Hyeronimus

Margins: 0.16 len, 0.10 len
Time: 1:11.44

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Black Opal Stakes winners & placegetters

Year Winner 2nd 3rd Time
2020 Barbaric Bartley Cellsabeel 1:11.4
2019 Pin Sec Rome Mclaren 1:10.8
2018 Encryption Sizzling Belle Bondi 1:10.2
2017 Trapeze Artist Trekking Muraaqeb 1:10.7
2016 Defcon Flash Fibian Prized Icon 1:10.6
2015 Takedown Single Gaze Antelucan 1:10.5
2014 Lucky Raquie Mr Cha Cha Klammer 1:11:0
2013 Criterion Sidestep Meticulously 1:10:5
2012 Epaulette Faustus Later Gator 1:12:5