Luke Pepper confirmed with NSW Country and Picnic Racing this week that star sprinter Opal Ridge is on track for this year’s The Kosciuszko, with the $2 million country slot holder race to be run and won at Royal Randwick on October 14.
The four-year-old has started 13 times for six wins and three placings, earning connections over $700,000 in prizemoney.
There has been something about the Rubick mare since her classy debut win at Canberra as a two-year-old in January 2022.
As a three-year-old, she didn’t disappoint, winning a Class Three Highway Handicap (1200m) at Royal Randwick at just her fifth start in September 2022.
Two starts later, the talented filly proved she was above average, boulting in for an easy win in the $500,000 Tapp-Craig (1400m).
After a spell, Opal Ridge returned to Rosehill Gardens in March, winning the Listed Darby Munro (1200m) before another Listed victory in May when taking out the Luskin Star (1300m) at Scone.
She followed that up with two good runs at Eagle Farm in June. Firstly, it was a heartbreaking second in the Group 2 Dane Ripper before a gallant fifth in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara.
After a well-deserved freshen-up, Opal Ridge is back in work, and Pepper confirmed his plans.
“She’ll head to the Kozi; she’s back from a nice break after racing in Queensland, and she is in terrific order,” Pepper said.
“I’m really excited to have her back in the stable.”
The four-year-old, which boasts an unbeaten first-up record (3:3-0), will resume in The Kosciuszko, and Pepper said he will use the same tactics that have worked in the past.
“She’ll be first-up into the Kozi after a trial three weeks beforehand, and she’ll have an official jump-out before that,” Pepper said.
“It’s what we did leading into the Darby Munro, and hopefully, it works again.”