The Ladbrokes Showdown (1200m) has drawn a full field of 20 runners – including four emergencies – all aiming to become the first winner of Victoria’s newest $1 million race at Caulfield this Saturday.
Sixteen juvenile sprinters – all sired by Victorian-based stallions nominated to the VOBIS Sires Race Series – will contest the feature race on Victorian Owners and Breeders Raceday, one of the state’s premier off-season meetings offering more than $2.5 million in prizemoney and bonuses.
The highest prizemoney earner in the field is the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Hightail, who will be ridden by jockey Chris Symons. The gelded son of Written Tycoon has notched two wins in his fledgling career, but will have to bounce back from a disappointing performance at Caulfield 11 days ago, when he finished ninth of 11 runners.
Stand To Attention (second), Lucifer’s Reward (third) and Geraldine’s Jewel (fifth) all finished ahead of Hightail that day, and the trio will return to Caulfield on Saturday to pursue the $500,000 first prize in The Showdown.
Lucifer’s Reward, whose trainer Brendan McCarthy has also accepted with Oh So Rewarding, is the son of the 2009 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) winner, Reward For Effort. Lucifer’s Reward was home-bred by Innisfree Thoroughbreds, whose principal Andy O’Shea is a recovering multiple stroke survivor.
Stand To Attention, who will be partnered by Brad Rawiller, is one of three representatives in the race for the Leon and Troy Corstens training team, who also saddle Heka Express (ridden by Jake Noonan) and Free Thrills (Patrick Moloney).
Victory for Geraldine’s Jewel would represent a fairy-tale for her owner-trainer Mark Ashby, who paid just $5,500 for the filly at last year’s Inglis Melbourne VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale.
The Tony McEvoy-trained Sisstar cost more than 100 times that fee, and her jockey Luke Currie – who rode full-sister Sunlight to three Group 1 wins – is hoping she can justify the outlay when they line up in The Showdown.
Other notable runners include Prince of Sussex, whose trainer Matt Laurie and jockey Mick Dee will be hoping he can maintain the form which saw the son of Toronado score a comfortable win in the VOBIS Gold Rush (1000m) on his last start.
Trainer John Sadler has a very high opinion of Sartorial Splendor, who looked a very smart prospect when winning on debut at Terang ten days ago. The son of champion sire Brazen Beau is part-owned by former AFL players Wayne Richardson and Kerry Good.
Another Caulfield trainer, Clinton McDonald, will saddle Flostar, who made an impressive debut at her home track when finishing a close second behind the unbeaten Meuse earlier this month.
The Zoustar filly will be ridden by Damien Oliver, currently locked in a battle for the Victorian Metropolitan Jockeys’ Premiership with Craig Williams, who will partner Groot for the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace training team.
The Ladbrokes Showdown, the sixth of nine races on Victorian Owners and Breeders Raceday, is scheduled for 3.10pm on Saturday. Veterinary checks will be conducted on all 20 horses from today and will be completed by Friday, 26 April.
The support card features the $300,000 Spendthrift Australia VOBIS 3YO Sires (1600m), the $250,000 Hygain VOBIS Gold Heath (2000m) and the $250,000 IRT VOBIS Gold Mile (1600m), where the Patrick Payne-trained Widgee Turf – who cost just $4,500 – will aim to increase his current prizemoney earnings of $984,300.
Opening TAB.com.au market:
$3.20 Prince Of Sussex
$6 Stand To Attention and Sartorial Splendor
$11 Hightail and Groot
$18 Lucifer’s Reward and Angel Rock (first emergency)
Additional reporting ThoroughbredNEWS News Desk