The Road to Victorian Victory

The Black Caviar statue in Nagambie is a reminder of what the Victorian breeding industry has to offer.

The recent, high profiled success of Victorian-bred racehorses continues to cement the strength of the industry and the myriad of opportunities available for breeding thoroughbreds in Victoria. However perhaps the greatest testimony to our state’s thoroughbred industry is a statue in the small township of Nagambie.

This sentinel in bronze serves as a constant reminder of the greatest Queen in the sport of Kings and, while Black Caviar is only one horse among many thousands bred in Australia each year, she will always remain the archetypal representation of what Victoria has to offer.

Black Caviar was bred in Victoria, some 4km from the statue. She is by a Victorian based stallion. Her mother was bred in Victoria. So was her grandmother and great-grandmother. Her 2nd great grandmother was imported into Australia by one of Victoria’s most successful businessmen, David Hains, who will also go down in history as the breeder of another Victorian bred champion – Kingston Town.

But just as importantly, Black Caviar was reared in Victoria, sold by a Victorian stud in Victoria, purchased by a Victorian trainer and qualified for Victoria’s nonpareil incentive scheme, Super VOBIS.

Super VOBIS bonuses offer up to $13 million in bonuses for over 840 Victorian races each year. The VOBIS Gold scheme provides additional benefits of up to $9 million. VOBIS stars such as Widgee Turf, Rich Charm, Thrillster and Burning Front serve to inspire and attract breeders and buyers to our state – many with the aim of emulating the successes of these VOBIS nominated athletes.

Fast forward to this season…

The inaugural All Star Mile at Flemington was won by the Victorian bred Mystic Journey. New South Wales’ $1.3 million Kosciusko was won by Belflyer – a Victorian-bred gelding whose sire (Bel Esprit) and dam (Flying Ruby) were also both bred here.

Acclaimed sprinter and two-time Everest winner, Redzel, was bred at Victoria’s Eliza Park (now Sun Stud) whilst Godolphin’s dual Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow is by Darley’s Victorian based stallion Helmet. The colt is also closely related to Swettenham Stud’s Trust in a Gust. Group 1 Blue Diamond winner Lyre is another winner bred by Godolphin’s Victorian base.

Victorian vendors continue to experience positive results at sales across the country. At the two-day Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, three vendors represented Victoria (Esker Lodge, Three Bridges Thoroughbreds and Rosemont Stud). Of their combined 12 lots, only 1 lot was passed in, with 6 selling above or close to the Day 1 median of $280K. At this month’s Inglis Melbourne Gold Yearling Sale, buyers will no doubt be attracted to the 119 VOBIS eligible lots featured in the 261-strong catalogue. 

The flow on effects from the popularity of the VOBIS program can be seen in other recent stud news. Yulong Investments have secured Grunt for the 2019 breeding season. Swettenham Stud are bringing in new sires from interstate and overseas, including Akeed Mofeed and Sioux Nation. The progeny of Darley Northwood’s Brazen Beau continue to explode in popularity in the sale ring, with his highest-priced yearling to date selling for $1,150,000 at last week’s Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

Magic Millions and Inglis have their own race series dedicated to those graduates sold through their rings. Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria, in conjunction with Racing Victoria, created The Showdown, specifically open only to the progeny of Victorian bred eligible stallions. This is a race that is the only one of its kind in Australia.

“VOBIS Sires is a great incentive for owners,” said horse trainer Natalie Young of Busuttin Racing. “I think going forward it’s something to our owners and new clients ‘come and try a $1 million race with us.”

The inaugural running of The Showdown is only two weeks away. Being staged at Caulfield on Victorian Owners & Breeders Race Day alongside seven other VOBIS races, the day will certainly prove that Victoria is the only place to strike gold and truly is the premier state to breed.

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