A high quality field of fourteen two year olds plus two emergencies make up the Group 3 $300,000 Mercedes-Benz Canberra Black Opal Stakes (1200m) at Canberra on Sunday.
Top Golden Slipper fancies Houtzen, Menari, Chauffeur, Muraaqeb, Jukebox and Khan have all accepted for the feature two year old race in the Nation’s capital.
Several of the Black Opal Stakes runners are also acceptors in the two Golden Slipper lead up races at Randwick on Saturday, the Group 2 $300,000 Reisling Stakes (1200m) for the fillies and the Group 2 $300,000 UNSW Todman Stakes (1200m) for the colts and gelding.
Randwick looks set to be run on a heavy track and many of the trainers are looking to Canberra for a better racing surface with the track rated a Good 4 on Thursday morning.
Houtzen has drawn barrier thirteen in the Black Opal Stakes and trainer Toby Edmonds has al his bases covered after accepting with the Magic Millions 2yo Classic winner in the Reisling Stakes and in the QTIS two year old Handicap (1000m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The Gerald Ryan trained Menari is on the second line of betting for the Golden Slipper at $8 with Houtzen at Ladbrokes.com.au and has drawn barrier eight in the Black Opal Stakes with Tim Clark booked to ride.
Menari, along with Chauffeur, Jukebox, Trekking, Khan and Muraaqeb are all listed in the Todman Stakes field.
As well as Menari, Ryan will also saddle up Chauffeur who has drawn nicely at barrier three and Trapeze Artist who has drawn out wide at fifteen.
The John O’Shea trained Trekking has drawn barrier two while his stablemate Marsupial has drawn the pole position.
The Team Snowden trained Khan disappointed first up when last of seven in the Group 2 $250,000 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on February 18 but gets his chance to bounce back after drawing barrier five.
Khan will be the only Black Opal Stakes representative from the Snowden stable after stablemate Gunnison was scratched shortly after the final field was posted after drawing barrier twelve.
The Lindsay Park trained Muraaqeb has drawn just worse than midfield at one while Reflectivity from the Hawkes stable has drawn in close at four.