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New Victorian $1 million ‘The Showdown’ race to launch in 2019
05 Dec 2017 | Racing Victoria 
Racing Victoria (RV), in association with Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria (TBV), has started the countdown to ‘The Showdown’ – a landmark $1 million two-year-old race to be staged at Caulfield Racecourse in April 2019.

The 1200m event, to be run exclusively for the progeny of VOBIS Sires’ nominated stallions, has today been named in honour of Victoria’s champion Australian stallion of the 1970s - ‘Showdown’.

Showdown stood at Stockwell Stud at Diggers Rest between 1966 and 1983 where he sired 46 stakes winners (13 at Group 1 level) including Golden Slipper, Blue Diamond, Oaks and Derby winners. He retired from stud duties in 1983 and was buried at Stockwell Stud in 1985 after his passing.

The $1 million The Showdown will become a permanent fixture on the Victorian racing calendar, and will help pave the way for further expansion of the VOBIS Sires program with a $500,000 three-year-old VOBIS Sires (1600m) race to commence in 2020.

These two races and the lucrative VOBIS Gold Premier Race Series will, by 2020, be collectively worth at least $4.45 million a season. The whole VOBIS program, inclusive of bonuses and prizemoney, will offer more than $20 million.

In making today’s announcement of ‘The Showdown’, RV Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, said the new name would create some excitement within the Victorian racing community and build a sense of anticipation leading into the first ever $1 million The Showdown.

“Making this announcement today helps to reinforce the message of the VOBIS Sires program, and will aid in educating owners and trainers about the benefit of buying VOBIS Sires progeny now, so that they are eligible to compete in the first ever $1 million Showdown in 2019,” Carpenter said.

“The Showdown is the next exciting step in our VOBIS program and a wonderful opportunity for Racing Victoria and TBV to reward owners and support the breeders who have invested their resources, time and energy into Victorian racing.

“The name itself also has significant historical links to Victorian breeding, with Showdown being a champion Australian stallion who stood at Stockwell Stud and who produced very classy two-year-old progeny.

“Perhaps we will see a similar record to that of Showdown’s set by some of the 54 VOBIS Sires-nominated stallions, whose progeny will be able to compete in the first running of The Showdown.”

All eligible horses aiming to compete in the $1 million The Showdown must be nominated to both Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold, and must be the progeny of a VOBIS Sires-nominated stallion.

A total of 54 stallions were nominated to the VOBIS Sires program during 2015, meaning all their 2016-born progeny – provided they are VOBIS Gold and Super VOBIS nominated – will be eligible to compete for the inaugural race in 2019.

The first crop of yearlings to be prepared for the inaugural race will appear at the upcoming 2018 sales, and will be identified by VOBIS Sires logos in the sales catalogues, barn signage and hip stickers.

TBV President, James O’Brien, said: “VOBIS Sires is a further evolution of Victoria’s VOBIS program which supports the State’s critical breeding industry.

“Victoria’s stallion owners have been great supporters of this scheme with their nomination fees going into the prizemoney of the $1 million Showdown.

“Victoria already has some fantastic sires, but VOBIS Sires and the $1 million Showdown will help take the quality of the stallion roster in this state to a new level.”

Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) General Manager – Racing, Jake Norton, said the club was thrilled to host the first running of The Showdown at Caulfield Racecourse on the fifth annual Victorian Owners and Breeders Raceday.

“It has been a privilege for the MRC to host the Victorian Owners and Breeders Raceday since its inception, and we’re proud to have contributed to its success and growth,” Norton said.

“To think that success now extends to a $1 million race in The Showdown is remarkable, and testament to Racing Victoria’s investment in the day and its commitment to the state’s owners and breeders.

“We look very much forward to setting the stage once again for the 2018 race day, and the inaugural Showdown in 2019.”

Note - When it launches in April 2019, The Showdown will become Victoria’s second $1 million two-year-old race alongside the $1.5 million Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) run annually in late February at Caulfield Racecourse also.