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Black Opal option for Muraaqeb

The Blue Diamond Stakes has come around too soon for Muraaqeb who will be aimed at the Golden Slipper with the Black Opal Stakes a possible lead-in to the $3.5 million race.

The latest two-year-old winner from the powerful Lindsay Park stable made an immediate impression on debut over 1000m on Friday night at Moonee Valley, storming home from the tail of the field to win.

Co-trainer Tom Dabernig said the colt’s win was similar to the debut performances of the stable’s leading hopes for Saturday’s Blue Diamond, Catchy and Tulip.

“We might look at the Black Opal,” Dabernig said.

“It’s a day short of two weeks then until the Slipper.

“We did it with St. Covet. He bolted in the Black Opal.”

St. Covet was trained by Lindsay Park’s David Hayes and won the 1994 Black Opal by six lengths before running a close second to Danzero in the Golden Slipper.

“We just thought the Black Opal was a consideration,” Dabernig, who trains in partnership with David and Ben Hayes, said.

“Often the race in Sydney on the Saturday (Todman Stakes) is all the real big gun Slipper horses. We’ll look at both races.

“Canberra is about five hours from the farm at Euroa up the freeway so we thought we might be able to go there and if he runs well then just go on to Sydney.”

The $300,000 Black Opal (1200m) is on March 5.

Dabernig said the stable had always held Muraaqeb in high regard.

“We thought he was one of our best but he went a little bit shin sore so we had to turn him out,” he said.

“Then to have the length of spell that he needed meant that he just came in a bit later than the Blue Diamond horses.

“That’s why we thought we’d put him in the Slipper because the timing might be right.”

The stable is expected to have five runners in the Blue Diamond Stakes – fillies Catchy, Tulip and Formality and colts Muraahib and Wait For No One.

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