The weather was fine, the fields big and the racing hot on Saturday’s third annual Victorian Owners and Breeders Race Day at Caulfield.
From the small breeder to the established studs, the Victorian breeding industry is growing from strength to strength and the six lucrative VOBIS Gold Premier races were testament to that.
With nearly $1.7 million in prize money and bonuses on offer, the VOBIS Gold races allowed Victorian bred and owned horses to compete for prize money usually reserved for Group level races.
Interestingly, five of the six lucrative VOBIS Gold races were won by homebreds.
The first of the VOBIS races saw golden boy Burning Front (Primus) deliver with a dominant win in the $280,000 IRT VOBIS Gold Mile. A homebred success story of Justin Lovatt and favourite with the fans, Darren Weir’s tough galloper has now taken his earnings to more than $1.1 million dollars.
The super consistent Burning Front, was targeted for this start, making it his 17th win from 47 starts. Burning Front was able to control the race from the lead with the Churchill Lodge bred galloper Bel Burgess running a strong second.
“He makes his own luck, races up on the speed, and he’s been an absolute ripper for the connections and a great advertisement for VOBIS and VOBIS Gold with the money that you can win.” Weir said.
Race four, the $280,000 VOBIS Gold Heath, was won by the Rosemont Stud bred filly Toffee Nose (Toorak Toff). While trainer Danny O’Brien rated the filly highly going into the race, a win would require the filly to beat Ciaron Maher’s Ruthven who had come from an impressive fourth in the ATC Derby.
“The industry is getting stronger every year,’’ O’Brien said referring to the Victorian breeding industry.
Toffee Nose is from the Galliano mare Majestic Girl and was sold at the 2015 Gold Coast Magic Millions Sale by Rosemont Stud for $85,000. Purchased by Champion Thoroughbreds, she has now won over $250,00 in prize money and will be set for the Group 1 Australasian Oaks in Adelaide.
Race five was the $310,000 Swear at Spendthrift VOBIS Sires for two year olds. It was taken out by the smallest runner in the 16-horse field, the big-hearted Purrealist filly Pure Scot (Purrealist). Overcoming early trouble to weave through the field and the pocket rocket filly was able get clear and power home.
“She’s probably easy to underestimate but she shouldn’t be, and I think she will go on to be a good three-year-old,’’ said co-trainer David Hayes.
She was bred by Melbourne construction business owner Craig Easton in partnership with Cornerstone Stud Her victory was a huge success for the two breeders, having purchased Pure Scot’s dam, the Flying Spur broodmare Enthrall, in 2014 for a bargain at $26,000.
Race six, the $180,000 VOBIS Gold Distaff saw Chris Waller’s honest mare French Emotion rewarded after a frustrating run at Caulfield the Saturday before when favourite. The Group 1 placed and Group 2 winning mare has had no luck recently on the bottomless Sydney tracks.
By Snitzel from the Woodman mare, Love and Emotion, she is a homebred for Valda Klaric and Ian Cajkusic. Raised at Nagambie’s Millford Thoroughbreds, manager Richard Kerry said there is a lot happening in the filly’s family at the moment.
Along with French Emotion’s dam back at the farm, the half sister, speedy Thousand Guineas runner Love for Ransom, produced a very nice first foal by Al Maher which Milford Thoroughbreds sold for $190,000 at Premier this year. Kerry says she has a cracking Toronado filly at foot, and Love For Ransom returned to Swettenham to visit Trust In A Gust last season.
Rich Charm (Danerich) was certainly the feel good story of the day, with the petite Udyta Clarke winning the $280,000 Newmarket Grand West VOBIS Gold Sprint. Bred with long-term clients and supporters Don Allan and Craig Rumble, Clarke received a handsome cheque of nearly $160,000..
Rich Charm is by Danerich from the Kingston Mill mare, Charmly. She has a Moshe yearling and is currently in foal to Rosemont’s Nostradamus.
In the final race, the Ellerton/Zahra trained Sword of Light asserted her dominance over 1600 metres at Caulfield in the Goldners Horse Transport $280,000 VOBIS Gold Reef. Bred and raced by David and Jenny Moodie and Ashley Hardwick’s Hesket Bloodstock, Jessica Moodie was at the track to receive the trophy on their behalf.
The filly has now taken her earnings close to $500,000 which includes a win in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Preview as a two-year-old.
With a day studded by top class horses, emotional victories and homebred success there is no doubt that the VOBIS scheme is a triumph.
With the VOBIS Sires 2YO race becoming a $1 million race in 2019 and the introduction of a $500,000 VOBIS Sires 3YO race in 2020, there has never been a better time to be involved in the Victorian breeding industry.