Showdown attracts stellar field

The field of the inaugural Showdown has been finalised, with 16 VOBIS Sires two-year-olds set to chase the $1 million purse this Saturday at Caulfield’s Victorian Owners and Breeders Raceday.

Named after the legendary stallion of the 1970s, The Showdown is only open to the two-year-old progeny of Victorian-based stallions nominated for the VOBIS Sires Race Series.

Twelve Victorian stallions are represented in The Showdown, from seven Victorian studs. Darley Northwood has the most representatives, with four, followed by Sun Stud with three.

The impressive field is headlined by Hightail, trained in Sydney by the father-son partnership of Peter and Paul Snowden. The gelded son of Victoria’s leading stallion Written Tycoon has amassed $273,240 in prizemoney from six career starts, including two wins.

One of the most exciting runners is Prince of Sussex, trainer Matt Laurie’s precocious sprinter who lived up to his regal billing with a dominant performance in the VOBIS Gold Rush (1000m) on Bendigo’s Golden Mile Race Day last month.

Prince of Sussex was sired by leading imported stallion Toronado, who stands at Swettenham Stud. Starspangledbanner, who like Toronado has a Royal Ascot win on his impressive resumé, has two of his progeny in the field.  

Father-and-son training team of Leon and Troy Corstens, who are strong supporters of the VOBIS program, have three hopefuls in contention for the $500,000 first prize cheque – Stand to Attention (Starspangledbanner), Heka Express (Starspangledbanner) and Free Thrills (Unencumbered). Trainer Brendan McCarthy has two contenders – Lucifer’s Reward and Oh So Rewarding – both by Chatswood Stud’s consistent sire, Reward For Effort.

Other starters in Saturday’s billing include Geraldine’s Jewel, a bargain buy at last year’s Inglis Melbourne VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale. Trainer Mark Ashby, who named Geraldine’s Jewel after his mother, paid just $5,500 for the daughter of Helmet, and it proved a very shrewd investment when she won on her debut at Sandown last month.

At the other end of the scale, Sisstar was bought for $600,000 – twice the price of her famous sister Sunlight, who has won three Group 1s for trainer Tony McEvoy.

“This will be the inaugural running of The Showdown which is a great concept designed by the Victorian Breeders to showcase and promote the exceptional stallions that we have in Victoria,” said Charmein Bukovec, Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria’s Executive Officer.

“The prizemoney raised was partly due to contributions from Racing Victoria and the State Government but mainly from Victorian Stallion farms contributing to the pool of prizemoney.”

“The Showdown has been in the making for some time now and to see the race come to fruition is exciting for all Victorian breeders.”

The Victorian Owners and Breeders Race Day, at Caulfield this Saturday, is a great day which showcases Victorian breeding and with seven VOBIS Gold Premier Races scheduled and more than $2.5 million in prizemoney and bonuses on offer, it is one of the state’s premier off-season meetings.

CLICK HERE to view the field.

Pre-race veterinary inspections commence today for all starters and emergencies in The Showdown.

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