Local Queanbeyan trainer Neville Layt remains hopeful his smart young colt Red Excitement can keep the Black Opal Stakes 2012 trophy at home in Canberra this Sunday despite the talent-riddled list of Sydney raiders nominated for the feature.
The headline event on the Canberra racing card this Sunday, the $250,000 Listed Kamberra Win Company Black Opal Stakes (1200m) has this year drawn a smart list of 34 nominations.
Twelve months ago Layt ace filly Karuta Queen raced in the Black Opal for the first time since her impressive Magic Millions Gold Coast Classic win in Queensland, but went down in a shock defeat to fellow Canberra-trained You’re Canny.
Layt has his fingers, toes and everything else crossed that Excites colt Red Excitement can atone for the Black Opal Stakes loss of his famous stablemate with a win on Sunday and hand him a second Black Opal win to add to that of $100 roughie Sarthemare in 2008.
They certainly have the right lead-up form having broken their maiden status with a strong win over fellow Black Opal Stakes hopeful the Anthony Cummings-trained Diamond Player in the Lightning Ridge 2YO Plate (1000m) at the track on February 26.
The Lightning Ridge is the same race the Gratz Vella-trained You’re Canny saluted in last autumn before their upset Black Opal win last year.
Red Excitement, however, is set to face an imposing onslaught of interstate visitors if the 2012 Black Opal Stakes nominations are anything to go by.
“I heard about them (the nominations), we’re going to meet them, it’s a strong race,” Layt said.
“In saying that, I know that my little horse is right up there with them.
“The 1200-metres will even suit him better.
“They’re all good horses, but the better class horses are still at home aren’t they?
“What I’m getting at is I just think he’s up there with the best of the horses (nominated).
“He’s just starting to come to the fore now.”
Some of the bigger-name entries include Peter Snowden’s resuming Commands colt Epaulette, the John O’Shea-trained Rosehill winner on debut last November Faustus, Gai Waterhouse’s promising recent Canterbury victor Later Gator, the David Hayes-trained Chairman’s Stakes winning filly Mama’s Choice and Gerald Ryan’s Cavalry Rose.
Of the visiting brigade Cavalry Rose looks to be one of the main dangers, the unbeaten Charge Forward filly having amassed a tidy $236,500 in her two career wins to date.
A successful Black Opal Stakes run on Sunday could earn Cavalry Rose a start in the world’s richest race for two-year-olds, the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 7.
She currently pays $41 in the bookmaker.com.au future Golden Slipper odds that are led by Blue Diamond Stakes winner Samaready at a quote of $4.20.
“She has freshened up well and her work was good on Saturday morning,” Ryan, who won the 1996 Black Opal Stakes with Paint, said.
“I was nearly going to trial her this morning (Tuesday) but the way she pulled up on Saturday morning she didn’t need it.
“She couldn’t have done much more in her two starts and she’s beaten the colts and geldings both times.
“It will probably be her toughest test on Sunday but she has earned her crack at it.
“If she went really well on Sunday her next run would be in the Golden Slipper.”
Ryan has also nominated for My Shabella in the Black Opal Stakes after the Haradasun filly ran a close third on debut over 1100-metres at Canterbury on February 22.
“My Shabella will probably be scratched tomorrow (from Wyong) and run in it as well with Josh Adams to ride,” Ryan said.
“She trialled well then I thought she was a fraction disappointing first-up.
“She has done well since though so we’ll probably give her a crack at it.
“She’s certainly got the ability.”
The 2012 Golden Slipper Stakes is also a possibility for Red Excitement should they hold off the raiders on Sunday.
“If he runs well on Sunday he’ll run in the Todman Slipper Trial then he’ll run in the Slipper,” Layt said.
“And then we go up again.”
The $300,000 Todman Stakes (1200m) runs at Rosehill on March 24, and Red Excitement currently sits as a $101 outsider in the Golden Slipper betting markets at bookmaker.com.au.
Canberra’s Thoroughbred Park is the place venue to bet on horse racing this Sunday with three other Listed features on the program including the $200,000 Canberra Cup (2000m) and the $100,000 Canberra Guineas (1400m).
Fields and barriers for all the Canberra races are due for release on Thursday and will be published right here at Races.com.au.
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2012 Black Opal Stakes Nominations
|1||ARMED FOR ACTION||Anthony Freedman|
|3||BEAUTIFUL DANI||Mick Miladinovic|
|5||CAVALRY ROSE||Gerald Ryan|
|7||CROWN MOSS||Marc Conners|
|8||DIAMOND COSTA||Anthony Cummings|
|9||DIAMOND PLAYER||Anthony Cummings|
|10||DON’T CROSS MARY||Peter Wiggins|
|12||EXTREME IMPACT||David Hayes|
|14||FLAMING STAR||Chicka Pearson|
|15||GOLD BENDER||Mark de Montfort|
|16||KRISTY LEE||Chris Waller|
|17||LATER GATOR (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse|
|18||LIGHTNING DREW||Tim Martin|
|21||MAMA’S CHOICE||David Hayes|
|22||MRS GRAY||David Hayes|
|23||MY SHABELLA||Gerald Ryan|
|24||NO RISQUE||Barbara Joseph & Paul Jones|
|25||RAPPERS DELIGHT||David Hayes|
|26||RED EXCITEMENT||Neville Layt|
|27||RISE TO THE TOP||Gary Portelli|
|28||SERB CANDY||Mick Miladinovic|
|30||SHE’S MISSING||David Hayes|
|31||STRENGTH||John P Thompson|
|32||TONY THE PONY||Neil Osborne|
|33||TROPHIES||John P Thompson|
|34||WILL BE AMAZED||John P Thompson|