In its short history The Showdown (1200m) has already produced an impressive rollcall of champions, with the Matt Cumani-trained Khoekhoe joining inaugural winner Prince of Sussex in taking out the feature race on Victorian Owners and Breeders Raceday (VOBRD) at Caulfield last year.
The third edition of the $1 million contest, which is only open to two-year-olds nominated for Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold who are the progeny of VOBIS Sires Stallions, will again be the centrepiece of the 2021 VOBRD alongside the $500,000 VOBIS Sires Guineas (1600m) for three-year-olds.
Since claiming The Showdown with a devastating late charge in April 2020, Khoekhoe has gone from strength to strength and claimed his first Stakes victory in the Listed Super Impose Stakes (1800m) at Flemington on Turnbull Stakes Day.
The son of Turffontein stepped up to the Cox Plate distance of 2040m on his next start in the Group 2 Drummond Golf Vase at The Valley, and was only narrowly denied victory by Patrick Payne’s smart three-year-old Cherry Tortoni.
That runner-up finish took his career earnings to $683,300 from eight starts – which represents an outstanding return on the $50,000 Cumani paid for him at the 2019 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.
Florent was picked up for half that sum, and has proved an equally shrewd investment having amassed $337,865 in prizemoney and bonuses so far.
The highlight of her 17-start career came at the 2020 VOBRD, as she claimed the first ever running of the VOBIS Sires Guineas with a withering burst under jockey Jake Noonan, whose Dad Tony trains the four-year-old mare.
Since finishing fourth in the Group 2 The Roses at Eagle Farm in June, the daughter of 2013 Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente has struggled to recapture her best form but has been freshened up after her last start at Flemington on New Year’s Day, and is expected to resume in the off-season.
The 2021 VOBRD, which will feature nine races including the Listed Bel Esprit Stakes (1100m), returns to Caulfield on Saturday, 17 April.