Nathan Berry, aboard Everage, wins at Canberra yesterday. Photo: Colleen Petch
Randwick trainer Craig Carmody ''cut his teeth'' as a jockey at Thoroughbred Park in 1984, which made his Lightning Ridge Plate (1000 metres) victory there on Sunday all the sweeter.
Whether Carmody returns to Canberra in a fortnight for the listed $250,000 Black Opal Stakes (1200 metres) with Everage is still up in the air, despite the win automatically qualifying her for Canberra's premier race.
The daughter of Zizou has had four runs this preparation - two wins and two seconds - and Carmody was unsure if the two-year-old filly would have any more gas left in the tank.
Everage produced a strong run up the rails to overcome Raise No Doubt and Meticulously, which looked to have the box seat going into the home straight, but the $1.80-favourite saluted by 1.3 lengths on the heavy track.
''I've got really fond memories of Canberra … so it means a lot to me to come here and win this race,'' Carmody said. ''[The Black Opal] will definitely be a consideration.
''Not definite yet, but a definite option. She's had four runs now as a two-year-old. How long do you keep pressing the accelerator? But she's a really tough and resilient filly.''
Carmody part-owns Everage with Michael Kent, for whom he used to ride in Singapore.
He said Sydney trainers were treating the Black Opal as a serious race on the calendar and he was expecting an invasion of city trainers on the Hume Highway in two weeks.
''I think you'll find it's a very full nomination [for the Black Opal],'' he said. ''I've heard a lot of my colleagues talking about coming down. I think it's going to be a great day for the club and I'm hoping we'll be here.''
Despite the expected invasion of horses from Sydney, Carmody pointed to Everage's price tag of $20,000 as an example that Canberra trainers could still win their own race.
Darley trainer Peter Snowden won last year's Black Opal with Epaulette.
Meanwhile, Canberra trainer Keith Dryden produced an unusual running treble at Thoroughbred Park on Sunday. If a running treble wasn't rare enough, all three horses - Virtuoso, Crusader General and General Jay Dee - were sired by General Nediym.