RACING Victoria launches VOBIS Gold in Ballarat today.
The City of Ballarat Two-Year-Old Maiden, 1000m, will be the first event to carry the new bonus.
The opening race is offering a $20,000 VOBIS Gold bonus and $30,000 in Super VOBIS bonuses on top of $30,000 in stakes.
Racing Victoria announced the VOBIS Gold scheme in July, with the state government providing $6.8 million over four years.
More than 1400 juveniles are eligible to earn bonuses under the scheme this season, with up to 350 races to be programmed across the state.
There will be five high-staked two-year-old features under the scheme:
$180,000 VOBIS Gold Carat, 1000m – Caulfield, January 5
$280,000 VOBIS Gold Rush, 1000m – Bendigo, March 16
$210,000 VOBIS Gold Stakes, 1200m – Flemington, April 13
$100,000 VOBIS Gold Strike (fillies), 1000m – Warrnambool, April 30
$160,000 VOBIS Gold Elvstroem Classic, 1300m – Swan Hill, June 7
Just one of the five starters in today’s VOBIS Gold event has race experience.
Lannister finished near the tail on debut at Moonee Valley on October 27 and despite the race experience might be telling.
The Tony McEvoy-trained Iconic is the only debutant with exposed trial form, having finished second in a run at Morphettville.
The Bel Esprit gelding has three winning siblings, including Bellission (three wins).
He is out of Danehill mare Danavia, which is a daughter of group 2 and 3-winning mare Scandinavia.
Scandinavia was an outstanding race mare with another seven minor placings in blacktype events, including a second to Spectrum in the 1998 Goodwood, and thirds to General Nediym in the 1998 Newmarket and Isca in the 1999 Lightning.
The other first-starters include the John McArdle-trained Neat Feat, out of 2009 Warrnambool Cup third placegetter Joontoo Gemini.
New Zealanders have the potential to fight out the $30,000 Australian Stockyard BM72 Handicap, 1600m.
Weight could be the issue, though.
Gottino carries 61kg for Ballarat trainer Ken Moore, who has enjoyed a great run with this five-year-old since acquiring him last season
Gottino won his first three starts for Moore at Ballarat and Bendigo (twice) in March, and then out in three solid efforts on metropolitan tracks.
He had a short campaign in June before producing a first-up win at Horsham on October 21.
Visiting NZ trainer Kevin Myers has two acceptors – Angelology and Micken – as he strives to add to an already impressive record for his spring Ballarat stable.
Angelology has not raced since May, when an unplaced favourite, but all Myers’ runners in Victoria this visit have raced well first-up.
The four-year-old is also an acceptor for Moonee Valley tomorrow night and is nominated for the Wycheproof Cup on Saturday.
Micken is also in line to make his Australian debut, but he did race back home just six weeks ago when second.
Best on the track
JOCKEYS: Jamie Mott 3-1-1, Mark Zahra 3-0-1, Luke Currie 3-0-0, Craig Williams 3-0-0, Glen Boss 2-3-1, Vlad Duric 2-2-4, Brad Rawiller 2-2-2, Damien Oliver 2-2-1, Luke Nolen 2-1-5, Michael Walker 2-1-3, Ryan Maloney 2-1-0, Luke Currie 2-0-0, Jacob Rule 2-0-0
TRAINERS: Darren Weir 3-6-1, Mick Price 3-1-0, Peter Moody 2-4-5, Robert Smerdon 2-3-1, Robbie Griffiths 2-1-1, Michael Moroney 2-1-1, Anthony Freedman 2-2-2, Michael Kent 2-0-3, Stuart Webb 2-0-0, Stephen Theodore 2-0-0
TRAINERS: Darren Weir 43-51-31, Mick Price 41-2-3-22, Peter Moody 33-42-32, David Hayes 29-28-28, Peter Snowden 28-10-14, Robert Smerdon 25-15-16, Anthony Freedman 25-13-18, Robbie Griffiths 23-18-13, Ellerton-Zahra 18-18-10, Leon Corstens 17-12-14
JOCKEYS: Dean Yendall 41-27-28, Michael Walker 37-22-29, Glen Boss 35-25-22, Damien Oliver 26-18-17, Ryan Maloney 26-17-17, Brad Rawiller 26-28-35, Luke Nolen 25-31-24, Vlad Duric 25-22-17, Michael Rodd 25-14-17, Craig Newitt 22-24-22
BEST IN BALLARAT
Bullseye Wade 14:4-1-1, Fearless Fly 6:1-2-0, Watasham 8:1-1-2, Gottino 2:1-0-1, Persona Grata 1:1-0-0, Intreeg 1:1-0-0
BEST AT DISTANCE
1000 METRES: Persona Grata 9:3-2-0, Wee Mac 19:2-7-5, Chestnut Valley 7:2-1-0, Capturethedream 6:2-0-2, Intreeg 5:1-1-1
1200 METRES: Fearless Fly 10:2-2-1, Watasham 9:1-3-1
1600 METRES: Gottino 10:3-1-0, Angelology 5:2-1-1, Cosentino 5:2-0-1, Bullseye Wade 8:1-1-2