Sarah Stars In Brisbane Cup Showstopper

BLACK Opium has elevated herself to champion status with a resounding victory in Thursday night’s Group 1 Brisbane Cup Final at Albion Park.

Adam Dobbin

2 July 2020

BLACK Opium has elevated herself to champion status with a resounding victory in Thursday night’s Group 1 Sky Racing Brisbane Cup Final (520m) at Albion Park.

And ensuring it was a real girls night out, local star Special Cyndie, the only other bitch in the showpiece finale, finished second.

But the night belonged to Black Opium, the darling of Australian greyhound racing annexing her second group 1 title in breathtaking fashion.

This time last year the Jason Thompson-trained superstar finished a gallant runner-up to Sennachie in the Brisbane Cup in track record time.

But returning 12 months later for another crack at the Brisbane showcase, the daughter of Black Magic Opal disposed of a classic group 1 field to deliver Jason Thompson a fourth Brisbane Cup trophy.

“She’s just an amazing bitch … very special,” said Thompson.

“I hand-slipped her at Warragul on the Wednesday before I sent her to Tony (Brett) and the best I’ve ever seen one go is 13.60 – she went 13.47 which I almost couldn’t believe.

“I said to Tony when I sent her up that I thought she was going better than last year but I’m not sure he believed me. But then when she equalled the 395m record in a trial he started to come around.”

Victorious at 28 of her 54 starts with $550,000 in prize money, Thursday night’s group 1 triumph solidifies the star bitch’s standing as one of the best of the modern era.

At just her eighth race start she finished a courageous second to My Redeemer in the 2018 Melbourne Cup before going on to forge a hugely successful career.

And on the strength of Thursday night’s dazzling performance, it’s a career that’s still got a few highlights on the horizon.

“She’s been racing the best there is from about her sixth start,” Thompson said. 

“She’s raced everywhere and mixed it with everything and here she is still going as good as ever. She really is a special bitch.”

Beginning brilliantly from box five, Black Opium, or Sarah as she’s more affectionately known, carved out electrifying splits of 5.47 and 11.45 before stopping the clock in a sublime 29.44.

The time was the fifth fastest ever at the Albion Park circuit, shaving a length off her previous best of 29.52.

Thompson was quick to heap praise on champion Queensland trainer Tony Brett who guided Black Opium to her Brisbane Cup success.

“It’s like the dogs are at home when they’re with Tony they’re that well looked after,” Thompson said.

“I spoke to him last Friday and said to him I’ll probably talk to you next Friday – I just leave it to him. He sent me a text tonight to say the two dogs kenneled great and were spot on.”

In a bizarre twist, connections of Black Opium picked up $54,000 for winning Thursday night’s Brisbane Cup while last year they claimed $60,000 for finishing second.

The disparity a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Pic courtesy Box 1 Photography