Ben Hayes with Finance Tycoon after winning the The Showdown at Caulfield Racecourse on April 17, 2021 in Caulfield, Australia. (George Salpigtidis/Racing Photos)

The success of the Victorian breeding industry was celebrated in spectacular style when Melbourne Racing Club hosted the sixth edition of the Victorian Owners and Breeders Day at Caulfield on Saturday.

The headline act of the day was the third running of the $1 million The Showdown (1200m) for two-year-olds, followed closely by The VOBIS Sires Guineas (1600m) for three-year-olds.

And about 48 hours later the industry was again celebrating with confirmation that arguably Australia’s best stallion – Written Tycoon – was on on his way back to Victoria after being acquired by Yulong.

The Woodside Park stallion had been on ‘loan’ to New South Wales for last year’s breeding season but his ambitious and surprise purchase by Yulong has returned him to where he made his name and belongs – Victoria.

It was only fitting that his Victorian bred son, Finance Tycoon, won last Saturday’s The Showdown for trainers Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes.

The Sires Guineas winner filly Ripper Rita, trained by Greg Eurell at Cranbourne, was bred by Western Australian breeder Neville Duncan who bred two-time Cox Plate winner Northerly and another champion, Marasco.

Ripper Rita was sired by Darley Victoria’s stallion Street Boss who continues to enhance his reputation with his consistency and big race wins.

Interestingly Ripper Rita, which was sold through Blue Gum Farm’s 2019 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale draft, and the colt, Finance Tycoon, were both $150,000 purchases.

Finance Tycoon added to Written Tycoon’s battle to reclaim the title of Australia’s Champion Sire 2020/21.  He currently trails Not A Single Doubt by less than $50,000.

The stallion’s return to Victoria capped off a big weekend for Yulong after their homebred filly Hungry Heart (Frankel x Harlech) made it three in a row with victory in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday.  It followed her Group 1 win in the Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) and the Group 3 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m).

Hungry Heart bred in Nagambie by Yulong wins the Australian Oaks (Steve Hart)

It’s also been a celebration for the Nagambie area where Yulong is based. As well as Written Tycoon now calling the town home, it was also the home and birthplace of Hungry Heart, while the outstanding son of Written Tycoon, Ole Kirk which was bred by Rick Jamieson’s Gilgai Farm, also based just minutes from Nagambie. He has now been retired to stud with two Group 1 victories alongside his name.

The Victorian Owner Breeders Breeders Race Day celebrated the success of the Victorian Breeding Industry with the emphasis on Victorian stallions and the lucrative VOBIS Gold scheme.

And that really is the pinnacle with Written Tycoon less than $50,000 off the top of the list.

Melbourne Racing Club chairman Peter Le Grand spoke glowing of the Victorian breeding industry and the Victorian Owners and Breeders Day when he addressed his guests at the committee room luncheon before Saturday’s races.

Le Grand welcomed guests to what he described as a special day for Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria – the sixth edition of the Victorian Owners and Breeders Day.

“And what a special race day it is,” Le Grand told guests.

“It is a very important meeting in our autumn carnival and has grown in stature over the years.

“We see the third running this afternoon of the $1 million The Showdown over 1200m.

“More than $2.7 million is on offer today in prize money and bonuses and enormous credit goes Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria.

“We salute you for the work that you are doing for Victorian breeders and for race horse owners in general.

“The Victorian breeding industry continues to go from strength to strength bringing to an economic impact of $193.3 million to the state of Victoria and that’s not to be sneezed at.”

Le Grand also outlined the following points to the guests which included many of Victoria’s biggest breeders.

  • More than 5,100 people are actively engaged in the breeding industry in Victoria – predominantly in regional areas – with 1,419 of those in full-time employment.
  • In 2020, 137 stallions called the state of Victoria home, which equates to 29 per cent of the industry’s stallion roster. In the 2020 breeding season, 3,410 thoroughbred foals were born which equates to 27 per cent of the total number of thoroughbred foals born in Australia.
  • Rosemont Stud’s Shamus Award is currently leading the Victorian sires table for the 2020-21 season, with Swettenham Stud’s Toronado – who sired Prince of Sussex – in hot pursuit in second place.
  • Widden Stud, the longest continuous family-run farm in the world, has announced that they will have a base in Victoria. Taking over the farm in Riddell’s Creek previously owned by Sun Stud, they are bringing with them both Nicconi, who sired six-time Group 1 winner Nature Strip, and Star Witness, whose progeny include multiple Group 1 winner Global Glamour. They have also announced multiple Group 1 winner Russian Camelot and Group 2 Danehill Stakes winner, Doubtland.

Le Grand said everyone should be proud of the Victorian breeding industry and he personally wanted to thank on behalf of everyone in racing, Thoroughbred Breeders Victorian chairman James O’Brien for his leadership.

“Thank you James to your committee and your CEO Charmein Bukovec for the work you do for racing and the breeding industry in Victoria,” he said.

As well as the return of Written Tycoon to Victoria there is plenty of excitement with the new boys on the block.

Written Tycoon will stand at Yulong this coming season (Bronwen Healy)

These include Hanseatic, a stakes-winning son of Street Boss formerly trained by Freedman Racing, who will stand at Rosemont Stud. He started favourite in last year’s Blue Diamond Stakes, but was beaten a neck by Tagaloa.

Darley Stud have announced that their unbeaten French champion Earthlight and Ghaiyyath, Godolphin’s multiple Group 1 winner who was the highest-rated horse in the world when he retired, will stand at their Northwood property in Victoria.

Yulong have announced that Yulong Prince, the horse which gave founder Yuesheng Zhang his first Australian Group 1 win in the Kennedy Cantala at Flemington, and the 2020 Blue Diamond Stakes hero Tagaloa, will both stand at the Nagambie farm.

Leneva Park will stand Matt Smith’s multiple Group 1 winner, Fierce Impact, who was sired by revered Japanese stallion Deep Impact.

The new stallions on the scene will only complement the established ones that breeders continue to support as they are offered an abundance of breeding options to suit their mares.

And there is no doubt that the Victorian Owners and Breeders race day held annually at Caulfield, will continue to highlight the best of the Victorian industry in the years to come.