With the first ballot order released earlier this week, the countdown to the inaugural VOBIS Sires Showdown is well and truly on. At Caulfield on Saturday 27 April, a field of eligible Victorian bred two-year-olds will contest over 1200 metres for the $1 million prizemoney on offer.
To be eligible for the race, the contestants must be the progeny of a Victorian stallion nominated to the VOBIS Sires program, as well as nominated for Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold. The announcement of this new race caused quite a stir at the 2018 Yearling Sales, as trainers and syndicators battled it out in the sale ring for the chance to take home an eligible yearling.
“This is a game changer. It will be fantastic for the owners and it (changed) our mindset going into the sales,” said Spicer Thoroughbreds’ Bloodstock Manager, Brad Spicer.
“With a small pool of eligible horses, you’ve got a better chance of winning the Showdown than you do of winning Tattslotto,” Brad said.
With nearly 100 incentivised races now firmly cemented into the Victorian racing calendar, the VOBIS program enhances the desire and encourages participants to breed and race in Victoria. The millions of dollars in additional bonuses and prizemoney is offered across a range of race types, distances, benchmarks and age brackets. The VOBIS Sires initiative was first introduced in 2015 to provide those that support and invest in Victorian-based stallions the opportunity for lucrative returns.
The Showdown ballot order, which allocates the 842 nominations down to a top 65 based on prizemoney earned, is looking like a fairly open one at this stage. With two wins resulting in some impressive prizemoney already, the Chris Waller trained Accession (Brazen Beau) stands out on top of the order. Another two start winner follows in Peter and Paul Snowden’s Hightail (Written Tycoon), whilst Tony McEvoy’s Group 3 winner Sun City (Zoustar) currently sits in third.
But with ten of the eligible horses on the ballot order trained interstate, could we possibly see the inaugural Showdown trophy head outside the Victoria border? Currently sitting in ninth place on the ballot, Felicia (Unencumbered) is from trainer Matthew Seyers’ Morphettville base. Courseshewill (Unencumbered) will have the support of Queensland behind her whilst Gerald Ryan’s Colada (Brazen Beau) will not be alone in flying the flag for New South Wales.
Cranbourne based trainer Mick Kent has three horses in contention – Capito (Street Boss), Shih Tzou (Zoustar) and Reward (Reward for Effort) – and he won’t be the only Victorian trainer vying to keep the interstate challengers at bay. John Ledger, David Feek and Jason Warren all have their eyes on the prize, whilst Tony McEvoy, Ciaron Maher and Lindsay Park have 22 horses nominated between them.
The final field will become more apparent over the coming weeks, with many of the nominees looking to race in next Saturday’s Blue Diamond Stakes. Tenth in the Showdown ballot order, Robbie Griffiths heads to Flemington tomorrow with Magnicity (Magnus) in the 1100 metres Listed Talindert Stakes.
Whilst the Showdown will be the feature race on Victorian Owners and Breeders Race Day at Caulfield on Saturday 27 April, the day will also include a $310,000 race (1600m) for Victorian sired three-year-olds.
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The Showdown Ballot Order, as at Monday 11 February 2019