Friday, September 27, 2013

Canberra to host big night

Ramsays Curse, ridden by Yusuke Ichikawa, sneaks up on the outside (red helmet) to finish ahead of
Fullerton and Via Facile in the Tony Campbell Cup on Friday.

Ramsays Curse, ridden by Yusuke Ichikawa, sneaks up on the outside (red helmet) to finish ahead of Fullerton and Via Facile in the Tony Campbell Cup on Friday. Photo: Graham Tidy

The $275,000 Black Opal Stakes might have missed out on an upgrade to group status, but Canberra Racing has landed an even bigger ''feather in their cap'' - the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.

Thoroughbred Park will host racing's night of nights on the night of the Black Opal on March 9 next year.

It will be the first time the Hall of Fame has come to the ACT since its inception in 2001.

Canberra Racing chairman Chris Ward said the strength of the Black Opal and Canberra Cup meeting had convinced the Australian Racing Board to bring it to the ACT.


''It's big for the club, but it's big for the ACT racing industry generally because the Hall of Fame dinner is a national institution held once a year, to which all the major industry participants across the country are invited,'' Ward said.

''So the leading trainers like Gai Waterhouse and Peter Moody will be there and it's designed to recognise excellence in the industry across the board.''

The announcement came at the same time as agreeing with Seppelt for a two-year sponsorship of the Black Opal.

Ward didn't want to be drawn on which horses might be added to the Hall of Fame when it comes to Canberra.

Cinderella story Takeover Target was inducted in 2012.

Queanbeyan taxi driver Joe Janiak bought the highly successful sprinter for just $1375 before accumulating more than $6 million in prizemoney.

Ward thought that Catbird, which Queanbeyan trainer Frank Cleary guided to the only Black Opal-Golden Slipper double in 1999, was one local horse that could come under consideration.

''There's a number of horses that legitimately fill a place … I think it will be a big ask for a Canberra horse this year,'' Ward said.

Meanwhile, Ramsays Curse won the Tony Campbell Memorial Cup (1400 metres) by a half-neck at Thoroughbred Park on Friday.

Nick Olive's Fullerton looked the winner when he fought back on the inside of Via Facile, but the Robert Price-trained gelding stormed up the middle to salute.

With Price in Cairns for a wedding, associate Arnie Bowden represented the stable.

''They set the horse for this race about three months ago and said this will be the aim,'' Bowden said.

''They took him to Sydney and he had a couple of runs … and they thought they'd bring him back to Canberra because he loves the track, loves the conditions.''

Ramsays Curse has now won five of 10 starts in Canberra.

Canberra trainer Matthew Dale will take Happy Finish to Rosehill for the Paslode Sprint on Saturday, while Barbara Joseph and Paul Jones have Just A Blur running in the Warwick Farm Handicap on Sunday. Olive's Without A Shadow will also run in the Warwick Farm Handicap.
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