The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Sunday’s edition of the Black Opal Stakes 2017 in Canberra could shape-up as the hottest edition of the Group 3 race in many years with the wet weather in Sydney giving an option to the Golden Slipper hopefuls.
An over capacity field of two-year-olds is accepted for the $300,000 Group 3 Canberra Black Opal Stakes (1200m) at Thoroughbred Park including the two $8 second favourites in futures Golden Slipper Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The bookmakers have the undefeated Toby Edmonds-trained filly Houtzen as the current $3.50 favourite in Black Opal Stakes odds.
She has won all three of her starts so far including most recently the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast in mid-January.
Houtzen tracks towards a Rosehill Gardens run on March 18 in the classic $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m), as do many of the other key chances in this autumn’s Black Opal Stakes field.
Her path into the world’s richest race for juveniles though is far from set in stone.
The Gold Coast-based Edmonds also has his filly accepted for a run against the current Golden Slipper Stakes favourite She Will Reign in the $300,000 Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Racing is set to take place on a bog track in Sydney for Randwick Guineas Day however, which has Edmonds leading towards a Golden Slipper lead-up for Houtzen in Brisbane on the same day.
That would see her scratched out of the Black Opal Stakes, betting on the Group 3 to be reshuffled.
The other $8 fancy in the all-in Golden Slipper markets this season engaged for the Black Opal Stakes is the Gerald Ryan-trained col Menari.
He is the $3.80 second-elect for the Canberra race, but like Houtzen is also a dual Group race acceptor for the weekend.
The son of Snitzel, coming off a 5.5 length winning Rosehill hit-out on a Heavy (8) track, is also in the mix for the $300,000 Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) on Saturday.
Menari will jump from barrier two with Tim Clark in the saddle if he stays in Sydney and Clark is also on standby for the Canberra ride from gate eight the following day in the Black Opal Stakes.
The Chris Waller-trained From Within is drawn the far outside barrier in the Black Opal Stakes and is the $7.50 third favourite, with a decision from the stable pending whether she’ll run there or in the Reisling.
The other single-figure hope in the Black Opal Stakes odds for 2017 is the fellow Ryan-trained Chauffeur ($9.50) who is more likely to stay in Sydney for the Todman Stakes in his first run since the Magic Millions Classic second to Houtzen.
Another key contender is Ciaron Maher’s unbeaten Jukebox ($12) who will be vetted before his run in either the Todman Stakes or Black Opal takes place after his scratching from last weekend’s Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes.
View the official 2017 Black Opal Stakes Final Field, Barriers & Jockeys by following the link – odds on the Canberra Group 3 found below with market links to Ladbrokes.com.au.
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