Celebration of Victorian thoroughbred breeding returns to Caulfield

The eighth edition of Victorian Owners and Breeders Race Day at Caulfield tomorrow (Saturday, 23 April) will offer more than $3 million in prizemoney and bonuses, giving connections the opportunity to share in a rich reward for their investment in the state’s flourishing thoroughbred racing and breeding industry.

One of the highlights of Melbourne’s racing calendar outside the showpiece carnivals, the meeting will provide a stage for some of the best Victorian-bred horses to chase the riches on offer across a nine-race card, with 14 precocious juveniles battling for a $1 million prize pool in The Showdown.

Among the other highlights, cult hero Shelby Sixtysix will return home for the first time to the state in which he was bred. The Danny Williams-trained gelding has been one of the stories of the autumn, progressing from a Class 2 Handicap to Group 1 glory in The Galaxy (1100m) in the space of just four runs.

The son of Swettenham Stud’s superstar sire Toronado will compete in the $280,000 VOBIS Gold Sprint (1200m) against a crack field of speedsters, featuring a pair of millionaires trained by Team Corstens in Swats That and The Astrologist.

Whilst Shelby Sixtysix adds intrigue to the program, the marquee race is the fourth running of The Showdown, which is open exclusively to the two-year-old progeny of VOBIS Sires-nominated stallions. The inaugural edition was claimed in 2019 by Toronado colt Prince of Sussex, whose trainer Matt Laurie saddles two runners in this year’s renewal with Over Shady – a filly by Spendthrift stallion Overshare – and Volander both aiming to salute in the $1 million dollar race.

Over Shady was just pipped to the prize in the VOBIS Gold Rush (1200m) at Bendigo by one of her rivals in The Showdown, Hollerlujah, who collected a cheque for $158,000 – more than three times the price trainer Henry Dwyer paid for the filly at the 2021 Inglis Melbourne Gold Yearling Sale.

The short-priced favourite for The Showdown is Tasmania’s leading two-year-old, Bello Beau. Trained by Adam Trinder and owned by Wayne Roser, the pair who enjoyed huge success with Mystic Journey, Bello Beau went three from three in his native Tasmania before finishing a luckless fifth in the Listed Valley Pearl (1200m) at The Valley last start.   

Carrying a prize fund of $510,000, the VOBIS Sires Guineas (1600m) is the second richest contest on the program with 13 VOBIS Sires eligible three-year-olds set to line up in the third edition of a race which was won last year by Ripper Rita, whose trainer Greg Eurell will bid to go back-to-back through either Don Diego or Tauty.    

Matt Laurie will launch a three-pronged attack on the race, with both Chartres and Airclash – who like Don Diego were also sired by Toronado – joined in the field by his Frosted filly Riverina Cyclone. Two starts back, Chartres finished third in the Group 3 Neds Zeditave Stakes (1200m) behind Finance Tycoon, whose illustrious CV includes a dominant win in The Showdown last year.

The son of Victoria’s leading sire Written Tycoon was prepared at the time by the Lindsay Park training team, who will send five runners to Caulfield including their hugely popular galloper So Si Bon. If the son of So You Think were to secure his third successive win in the $280,000 IRT VOBIS Gold Mile (1600m), he would break through the $2 million barrier in prizemoney earnings – further evidence of why it pays to breed, own and race horses in Victoria.

The VOBIS scheme, incorporating Super VOBIS, VOBIS Gold and VOBIS Sires, offers more than $23 million in bonuses and prizemoney across selected races held in metropolitan and regional Victoria each season. With the addition of the VOBIS Sires Boost on August 1, 2022, the program will offer more than $30.5 million in prizemoney, bonuses and vouchers from next season.

With the day acknowledging the contribution of owners to the sport, Victorian Owner Gold Card holders can obtain complimentary entry to the race meeting by scanning their card at the gate and are entitled to Members’ Reserve area access for themselves and a guest.

Owners with runners on the day are also entitled to a complimentary drink for themselves and a guest with compliments of Racing Victoria Owners and VOBIS with vouchers available for collection at the Owners Concierge (entry via Gate 21).

Quotes attributable to Racing Victoria Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter

“Victorian Owners and Breeders Race Day is always one of the highlights of the calendar, as we seek to celebrate and give back to the people whose vital support sustains our vibrant racing industry here in Victoria.

“The nine-race card features several established and emerging horses as well as some great storylines, as we welcome Shelby Sixtysix back to his birthplace of Victoria following his heroics in Sydney this autumn.

“The fourth running of The Showdown is shaping up to be an intriguing contest, and it will be fascinating to see which of the 14 juveniles contesting the $1 million marquee race can add their name to an honour roll which features top-class winners in Finance Tycoon, Khoekhoe and Prince of Sussex, who has since cemented his reputation in Hong Kong.

“We wish the very best of luck to all owners, breeders and trainers with runners on the day, and I look forward to meeting up with as many of them as possible to thank them for their contribution to the Victorian racing industry.”

Quotes attributable to Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria President, James O’Brien

“The Victorian Owners and Breeders Race Day is a celebration of Victorian breeding and highlights the strength of the Victorian breeding industry. The quality of the horses racing on this day showcases the best of Victorian stock.

“VOBIS truly is the premier incentive scheme and with the VOBIS Sires Boost to be introduced from 1 August 2022, an additional $7.5 million in vouchers for the progeny of VOBIS Sires will be available for eligible horses.

“I would like to thank all Victorian breeders for their hard work and continued support of Victoria. The success and prosperity of our industry would not be possible without you.”

Quotes attributable to Melbourne Racing Club Chief Executive, Josh Blanksby

“Victorian Owners and Breeders Race Day is an important race day at Caulfield where we acknowledge the contribution and support from owners and breeders in the state.

“Over the past eight years the Club has invested in the day to turn it into a marquee race day on the calendar. We have developed a strong association with TBV and Racing Victoria and we value our involvement in celebrating the Victorian racing industry and participants at our venue.”