Celebrations as Rom Baro wins the Canberra Guineas from Mr Bogart. Photo: Matt BedfordGary Moore wins Black Opal Stakes with TakedownGoldman pays tribute to Walter after Canberra Cup winSydney trainer Peter Snowden wins National SprintDale aims three runners for Country ChampionshipsHighlights from fashions on the field at Black Opal Stakes Day
If one of the gutsiest wins you’ll ever see in the listed Canberra Guineas (1400 metres) wasn’t enough, Canberra trainer Matthew Dale has fought off some of the biggest names in Australian racing to win three of the eight races on Black Opal Stakes Day at Thoroughbred Park on Sunday.
Rom Baro fought “back off the canvas” to win the $120,000 Guineas by three-quarters of a length from the highly fancied Mr Bogart, while Gocup Belle and Alagonia’s victories in two of the minor races on Canberra’s Super Sunday bookended a remarkable day for the Dale stable.
Dale admitted he’d been nervous about his $3 favourite going into the Guineas, one of the four black-type features of the meet.
“I wasn’t nervous at all about Alagonia, I really believed he’d run well, but I was a bit nervous with Rom Baro, the favourite in the Guineas and I really thought it was a tough Guineas – particularly Mr Bogart, who did serve it up to him,” he said.
“Gocup Belle [was a] great win and when you add it all up, three winners on Black Opal Day and one of the features, from a small Canberra stable when you’re up against the likes of Godolphin, Hawkes and Waterhouse etc etc, it’s a big effort and full credit to the owners and the staff.”
Rom Baro looked like he might get run over in the straight as Mr Bogart loomed on his shoulder coming around the home turn, but the three-year-old gelding dug deep to not only hold off the challenge, but move away by the finish line as well. Gary Moore’s Shengli was third, another two lengths further back.
Dale said while he has won listed races before, this one was special as it was on his home track. “This is right up there, a good bunch of owners, a horse that we’ve let progress and to win a big race on your home track … and to be headed at the top of the straight and fight back off the canvas is something else,” he said. “That’s what racing is all about.”
Dale will aim Rom Baro at the group 3 ATC Carbine Club Stakes (1600 metres) at Randwick in four weeks.
Ford felt the Time Thief gelding could cope with the extra 200 metres based on the way he toughed it out on Super Sunday.
He was ecstatic that he had made the right choice after having the ride on both Rom Baro and American Time, but he was also glad Gratz Vella’s American Time had run a good race to finish fourth.
The Sydney hoop chose Dale’s horse on the back of an impressive six-length win last start in which he set a track record at Thoroughbred Park two weeks ago.
“I made the right decision didn’t I. My gut feeling was that I made the right decision and obviously things worked out well and he got the job done,” Ford said. “He’s a very promising horse. Where did American Time run? Fourth? Ah, good, I’m glad to see the horse ran well.”
RESULTS: 1. Rom Baro, 2. Mr Bogart, 3. Shengli, 4. American Time.
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