Leading apprentice targets Canberra two-day carnival

Tyler Schiller will feature during Canberra’s Thoroughbred Park two-day carnival on Sunday and Monday. Photo: Bradley Photos.

NSW’s leading apprentice jockey Tyler Schiller will turn out at Canberra’s Thoroughbred Park on Sunday and Monday for the club’s annual two-day Black Opal Stakes carnival.

The 24-year-old said there were plenty of reasons why he was headed to the nation’s capital, with Sunday’s Group 3 John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes for two-year-olds headlining a bumper two days of racing that includes three Listed events and $1.16 million in prizemoney. 

“My boss Mark (Newnham) has a runner there in the Class One 1000m, but the main reason I’ll be there is the Black Opal and Canberra Cup; both are big races, with the Black Opal a Group 3 and the Canberra Cup a high prizemoney race,” Schiller said. 

 “It’s always a popular carnival, and if you win the Black Opal, you pretty much book your ticket to the (Golden) Slipper, and whether you’re down in the chances, it doesn’t matter, because you are never going to knock back a runner in the Slipper. 

“Even the Canberra Cup; it’s a good stepping-stone into other feature races and if you can win one of those races, you know it’s going to progress to some pretty decent rides.” 

There will be no shortage of leading hoops in attendance on both days, with Kerrin McEvoy, Jay Ford, Robbie Dolan, Kathy O’Hara, Rachel King, Danny Beasley, Tim Clarke, Brad Rawiller, and Michel Dee just some of the big names set to be in action. 

“Most of the big jockeys aim to be there because there are a lot of opportunities, and it should be a really good two days of racing,” Schiller said.  

The Young product will jump aboard the Gary Portelli-trained Lady Jezam ($21) in the Black Opal Stakes, and despite the youngster finishing fourth at her only start at Canterbury, Schiller believes she has a lot of upside. 

“I’ve never ridden her, but by the looks of it, she has a bit of early speed, and she is drawn well, and I’d like to think she will be handy and, on the speed,” Schiller said. 

“Looking at her run, she is probably a little more comfortable being in behind them, but they are two-year-olds and it is a 1200m race, so she will be thereabouts early, and she looks to have a lot of upside going forward.”

Schiller will also partner Troika for his boss in the 1000m Class One Handicap, while he teams up with Keith Dryden when riding Impending Harmony in the 1200m Maiden Handicap, Yesterday’s Gone in the 1400m Benchmark 65 Handicap, Sky Diamonds in the 1200m Benchmark 75 Handicap, and Dream Runner ($13) in the 1400m Listed National Sprint. 

“Keith has given me a few opportunities, and I’ve had a bit of luck for him in the past,” Schiller said. 

“My manager messaged a few trainers, and Keith said he had a few for him, and being a lightweight jockey, it meant I can ride most of them.

“There is the home track advantage, and he is a very good trainer, and he always does a good job.”

On Monday, Schiller will jump aboard up-and-coming type Clear Choice for David Pfieffer in the $150,000 Canberra Guineas and following a last-start maiden victory at Newcastle on February 25, the apprentice believes the three-year-old can make the step up in class. 

“Clear Choice looks like a big rolling horse, and he only just broke his maiden, but he has a lot of upside,” Schiller said. 

“David Pfieffer is a good trainer on the up, and I wouldn’t count him out of the Guineas, but there are a few good horses in the race.”

It’s a huge two days in Canberra and for more on what the club is doing click here.

For Sunday’s fields click here for Monday’s fields click here.

For Thunderbolt’s Black Opal Stakes markets click here.

Tips: Black Opal Stakes day

Race 1: 3 Vonk – $5.50

Race 2: 8 Ultragirl – $8

Race 3: 1 Hows It Kev – $5.50

Race 4: 4 Twig – $4.20

Race 5: 11 Zelago – $7.50 (Best Value)

Race 6: 2 Distillate – $2.90 (Best Bet)

Race 7: 3 Vreneli – $3.60

Race 8: 16 Tiz Invincible – $5.50

Race 9: 7 Beenvane – $21

Tips: Canberra Cup day

Race 1: 1 Flying Destiny – $2.50

Race 2: 2 November Rhythm – $1.50

Race 3: 7 Breakaway Week – $8

Race 4: 4 In Dr Sun Iwilcome – $7.50

Race 5: 4 Lonrioli – $2.30 (Best Bet)

Race 6: 9 Smooth Sailing – $5.50

Race 7: 8 Yaletown – $17 (Best Value)

Race 8: 1 Nieces and Nephews – $10