The Black Opal Stakes in Canberra
The Black Opal Stakes is sponsored by Mercedes Benz and held at Thoroughbred Park, home of the Canberra Racing Club, in Australia during the month of March each year. It is a Group Three race for two-year-old set-weight Thoroughbreds and is run over a distance of 1,200 metres, on a flat, right-handed turf track.
Inaugurated in 1973, the Black Opal is traditionally run on the Sunday of the Canberra Day weekend, but in 2016 it will be in the first weekend of March. This is a direct result of the movement of Sydney’s Golden Slipper, whose date had to be changed because of when Easter falls in 2016. For punters, it’s a good time to reflect on how the different events in the world of horse racing affect each other. Moving the Black Opal Series has maintained a two-week gap between the Black Opal and Golden Slipper Stakes, which means the Group Three rating of the Canberra races will be maintained. The best action can still be had at both, by serious punters and relaxed visitors alike.
The programme on the day includes more than the Mercedes Benz Black Opal Stakes, although this is the premier event and with a 275,000.00 AUD purse it offers the biggest reward. There are seven other races including the Canberra Cup, Guineas and National Sprint, worth 200,000.00, 125,000.00 and another 125.000,00 Australian Dollars respectively. Punters should take note of the riders, the horses and how they work together, as well as their past performances on similar track conditions, injury reports, reliable tips, and any other information they can get their hands on. It’s a challenging arena to be placing stakes in, but the payouts make it very worthwhile.
It’s also hoped that, since people might not be going away on the long weekend, the 2016 Black Opal Stakes will draw even more of a crowd than usual. There are plenty of other highlights besides the races to make this a great day out for everyone, including the Myer Fashions on the Field Competition that offers the Classic Ladies’ Racewear, Classic Men’s Racewear and the Millinery Award. Fashionistas will have plenty of motivation to come out in all their finery!
The other attractions on the day include the luxurious Seppelt-Deck Marquee, complete with cocktails and canapés that can be enjoyed along with the view of the Winning Post and mounting yard. There is also a range of tempting options to be explored in the Food Alley, and live music should keep everyone entertained. Children will have access to a jumping castle and face painting, so the Black Opal Stakes really are a great day out for the whole family. The atmosphere and events can be enjoyed on any budget thanks to the different hospitality packages that the Canberra Racing Club offers, and astute punters can take home far more than a few Guineas. The Black Opal Stakes are considered a highlight of Australia’s Autumn racing calendar, and seems to be working hard to live up to its good name.