Owners and breeders set to share in VOBIS riches at Caulfield tomorrow

Some of the best locally-bred horses will descend on Caulfield tomorrow (Saturday, 17 April) for the seventh edition of the Victorian Owners and Breeders Raceday, with more than $2.7 million in bonuses and prizemoney on offer across the nine-race celebration of the Victorian thoroughbred industry. 

First conducted in April 2015, the raceday has rapidly established itself as one of Victoria’s premium autumn fixtures, with seven of the nine contests forming part of the lucrative VOBIS Gold Premier Race Series.

Headlined by The Showdown (1200m), the $1 million showpiece open exclusively to the progeny of VOBIS Sires-nominated stallions, the meeting will once again acknowledge the vital contribution that owners and breeders make to the racing industry in Victoria. 

The inaugural edition of The Showdown in 2019 was won by Matt Laurie’s sprinter Prince of Sussex, who was subsequently sold to Hong Kong for a seven-figure sum, with Matt Cumani’s stable star Khoekhoe – a $50,000 purchase who has so far amassed more than $750,000 in prizemoney and bonuses – winning last year’s renewal courtesy of a devastating late burst.

The precociously talented juveniles aiming to add their name to the honour roll tomorrow include John Sadler’s unbeaten colt Starry Legend, who has won his two career starts by a combined five lengths. The son of Zoustar was initially heading to the paddock after his last win, but after discovering he was eligible for The Showdown Sadler put him back into work and has handed the reins to regular jockey Michael Dee, who rode Prince of Sussex to a dominant win in the $1m feature two years ago.

The undercard is illuminated by the second running of the VOBIS Sires Guineas (1600m), which now offers $530,000 in prizemoney and bonuses and was won last year by Florent, trained by Tony Noonan and ridden to victory by his son Jake.

Florent will be chasing another upset win when she lines up in tomorrow’s $180,000 Blue Gum Farm VOBIS Gold Distaff (1400m), while other winners from previous editions of this raceday in action include a trio of horses clashing in the $280,000 IRT VOBIS Gold Mile in defending champion So Si Bon, Mr Quickie and Iconoclasm.

“Victorian Owners and Breeders Raceday has fast become one of the highlights of the racing calendar, showcasing some of the best horses born and raced in Victoria and celebrating the hugely important contribution that our owners and breeders make to the success of our vibrant industry,” said Greg Carpenter, Racing Victoria’s Executive General Manager – Racing.  

“In its short history, The Showdown has already produced two outstanding winners and I’m excited about seeing some of Victoria’s fastest two-year-olds battle it out for the $1 million prize fund.

“With eight quality contests on the support card, it promises to be another thrilling day of action and I look forward to meeting and thanking many of the people who play such a vital role in Victoria’s prosperous racing and breeding industries.”  

“The Victorian Owners and Breeders race day is a celebration of Victorian breeding and an opportunity for owners, breeders and stakeholders to enjoy the quality of Victorian bred racehorses,” James O’Brien, Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria President said.

The VOBIS scheme, incorporating Super VOBIS, VOBIS Gold and VOBIS Sires, offers more than $22 million in bonuses and prizemoney across selected races in metropolitan and country Victoria each season.

The Victorian racing industry is supported by 74,162 active owners, whilst the Victorian breeding industry also continues to go from strength to strength, bringing an economic impact of $193.3 million to the state of Victoria.

More than 5,100 people are actively engaged in the breeding industry in Victoria – predominantly in regional areas – with 1,419 of those in full-time employment.

In 2020, 137 stallions called the state of Victoria home, which equates to 29 per cent of the national stallion roster. In the 2020 breeding season, 3,411 thoroughbred foals were born which equates to 27 per cent of the total number of thoroughbred foals born in Australia.

Rosemont Stud’s Shamus Award is currently leading the Victorian sires table for the 2020-21 season, with Swettenham Stud’s Toronado – who sired Prince of Sussex – in hot pursuit in second place.