The 2019 John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes is just one of Thoroughbred Parks premier events, and no doubt this year will be a race to remember. We are already counting down until the next long weekend because Sunday 10 March will see the first race of Autumn. It has all the ingredients to amount to one of the best events of the year. Hearts will pound, and crowds will cheer as jockeys and their thoroughbreds vie to be the champion. Though equally as important as the front-runner, is the fashion. Style is another kind of excitement abuzz that day where we see Canberrans really turn on their flair.

Pick a package  

Stay on the right side of the track in the Silk Room. One of Thoroughbred Park’s superb dining options, the best way to enjoy the races from a beautifully presented room with air-conditioning, overlooking the track and winning post.

Alternatively, enquire about a Marquee package, ideal for corporate groups and large social gatherings. The perfect opportunity to network with clients, entertain guests or socialise with friends and work colleagues.

Or watch the race with the cheering crowds, tickets are now available for general admission and can be purchased at the door.

Can you bring the kids?

Whether you’re a fashionista, race fanatic or family man you can have a great day out at the races. There will be free children’s entertainment including a jumping castle face painting and free pony rides.

Feeling fashionable?

Take a minute to plan your race wear and you could be crowned the Canberra Outlet Fashions on the Field winner.

The categories include:
Classic Ladies Race wear – Winner and Runner Up
Classic Mens Race wear  – Winner and Runner Up
Millinery Award – Winner only

Men, the official for Black Opal Stakes day is a pink rose and ladies don’t forget your fascinators or hats if you want to enter. But seriously, Fashions on the Field competition has strict guidelines for each category entry so make sure you brush up on all the rules.

Registrations are between 12 noon and 1.30pm at the Fashion Stage, unless otherwise scouted. Up to 15 finalists will be chosen from each category and there are prizes to be won.

The Canberra Makeup Academy will be on course to provide complimentary makeup touch-ups throughout the day (phew!).

What to bet on

Space out your bets, the Black Opal Stakes is inclusive of the Canberra Cup as well as an eight-race program which includes: the $300,000 John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes (Group 3), the $200,000 Canberra Cup (Listed), $130,000 (Canberra) National Sprint (Listed) and the $130,000 Canberra Guineas (Listed), $60,000 Canberra Guineas (Listed).

Kick on

If you have lasted the day on the tracks with your heels still on, head onto the official Black Opal Stakes after party at The Duxton in O’Connor. There will be free buses which will leave the racetrack from 4pm and divert to The Duxton and then on to the City on a loop until 7pm, so you really have no excuse not to keep the party going.


Gates open: 11.30am
Local racing commences: 1pm
Under 18s: Free (accompanied by parent or guardian)
Parking:  $5 to parking attendants from Rotary who will donate the parking fee to a charity of their choice.
Tickets: Early Bird $20 – $25
Members: GA inclusive
Aged pensioners: $5