*Excerpts from Greg Tobin and TDN

Proudly boasting over $1.3 million dollars in prizemoney, Saturday’s Bletchingly Stakes Day at Caulfield featured the running of the final three races of the VOBIS Gold Premier race series for the 2018/19 season.

The day hosted the following VOBIS Gold races, which each having a minimum of $180,000 of prizemoney and bonuses up for grabs; the VOBIS Gold Ingot, the VOBIS Gold Stayers and the VOBIS Gold Reef.

The VOBIS Gold Ingot was taken out by the Ellerton Zahra Racing trained Parmie. With Dean Yendall aboard, the filly came with a sustained finish and showed determination to hold off the challenge of Igniting (Starspangledbanner), who initially looked like he was going to open his winning account.

Parmie was coming off her maiden midweek success at Ladbrokes Park – Hillside and further improvement is expected from her after a break and justified the connection’s decision to stay closer to home with her, rather than tackle a stakes race in Adelaide last week.

Parmie is raced by her breeders and long-time supporters of the stable David and Jenny Moodie, under their Hesket Bloodstock banner.

“David and Jenny have been great supporters of mine,” said co-trainer Mathew Ellerton. “This filly has tested everyone’s patience, but she’s turned into a racehorse now.”

Jessica Moodie could barely contain her excitement, as she screamed Parmie across the finishing line to win the VOBIS Gold Ingot.

“This is a very special win for me today,” said Jessica. “Parmie is the first foal out of my favourite race mare Spirits Dance. I’ve watched her grow up and was pretty much there with her from the day she was born. Winning a VOBIS Gold race like this makes it even more special, I am still in shock.”

The Ciaron Maher/David Eustace trained Sopressa was considered a strong chance to farewell racing on top in the 2400 metre VOBIS Gold Stayers.

Sopressa hadn’t made a visit to the winners’ enclosure since May 2018, when capturing the Group One Schweppes Oaks over 2000m at Morphettville. However, despite a less than memorable spring and autumn, there was plenty of wind in the sails coming home this time in.

With the job now done, Sopressa will now head to the breeding barn, and whilst she might not be the highest profile mare heading there this spring, she has meant so many things to many.

To Danny Molloy, who purchased the filly for $70,000 at the 2015 Inglis Great Southern Sale in Melbourne, to breeders Ken Dean and Cathy Webb, to Bucklee Farm who sold Sopressa and to Oaks pilot, Harry Coffey, a popular jockey who has spent his life battling cystic fibrosis. For each of them, Oaks success was a Group One first.

Webb and Dean had to learn the art of patience too. The pair, at one stage, owned 25 mares and stood five stallions – under the Victorian Stallion Partnership banner – but their Group One winner was a long time in the making.

“We’d been in the breeding industry for over 30 years, but she was our first winner at the elite level,” Webb reveals. “We had bought Hidden Strings in foal, and also got a Written Tycoon filly and Warhorse colt out of the mare before selling her on. It might have taken a while, but trust me, it’s never too late to get your first Group One winner!”

Meanwhile, Leanne Smith, who owns Bucklee Farm – a boutique 70 acre property at Greta West in Victoria – prepped Sopressa for the Great Southern, recalls that the filly looked a lot like her mum, Hidden Strings.

“We won’t be forgetting her (Sopressa) in a hurry, but I’ve still got my fingers crossed that we get a second Group One winner with Cliff’s Edge who we sold for $60,000 at the 2016 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale and resumed with a very good third in the (Group Three) Bletchingly on Saturday.”

The final VOBIS race on the card, the $180,000 VOBIS Gold Reef, was claimed by jockey Damien Oliver onboard Benitoite. Trained at the track by Clinton McDonald, the filly was bred by Swettenham Stud’s Adam Sangster and is by Americain, who now stands at Daisy Hill. She has now had 6 starts for 4 wins, making her $90,000 purchase price at the 2017 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale a great value-for-money purchase.

The VOBIS Gold Premier race series comprised of 18 races with $4.45 million dollars in prizemoney and bonuses for the 2018/19 season, however the series will see an increase to $4.65 million dollars for the 2019/20 season. Horses must be first nominated to Super VOBIS and then upgraded to VOBIS Gold, to be able to be part of the series. The aim of VOBIS is to ensure a sustainable and viable Victorian Breeding industry by providing further riches and rewards to prizemoney already on offer in Victoria, to those who breed, buy or race a Victorian-bred horse. 

The VOBIS Gold Premier Race Series is proudly supported by Victorian Breeders, Racing Victoria and the Victorian State Government.

Charmein Bukovec – TBV Executive Officer commented, “It is great to have strong support behind our Victorian Breeders in the form of the VOBIS Gold Premier race series. No matter who you speak with; trainers, breeders, owners, they will tell you that they are always on the hunt for a VOBIS horse at the sales. This series helps drive the demand for our horses.” 

“We also had the inaugural running of The Showdown at Caulfield in April this year and with the Matt Laurie trained Prince Of Sussex taking out the coveted crown, this shone a light on the exceptional quality of stallions and the strength of our incentive scheme which we have in Victoria.” 

James O’Brien – TBV President commented, “I am delighted with how the VOBIS program continues to go from strength to strength. It confirms the confidence the market has in our horses and showcases the very best of what we have to offer here in Victoria.” 

“There has continued to be new investment into the industry with new farms deciding to call Victoria home. With the quality, talent and rewards on offer – there is no better time to Buy, Own and Race a Victorian bred thoroughbred.”

Connections of Sopressa after winning the Danny Barrett VOBIS Gold Stayers at Caulfield on Saturday. (Racing Photos)
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