The event is set to be a key feature for the Thursday night meetings held at Pakenham, with A$1.2 million in prizemoney on offer throughout.
The first of 12 maiden heats will be run on January 12, the first Thursday night fixture of 2023, and heats will be held each Pakenham Thursday night leading up to the $300,000 final on March 2.
Conditions for the Future Stars series are below:
- The series will be open to three-, four- and five-year-old horses only
- 12 maiden heats of $75,000 each over distances of 1200m or 1400m
- A $300,000 final run over 1400m as a Class 3 set weights contest
- The heats and final will feature fields of 12 with the winner of each heat automatically qualifying for the final
- If qualified horses do not accept for the final, then their spots are offered to the highest-rated second placegetters among the heats
- The final heat will be a 1400m repechage open only to those maidens who contested an earlier heat with priority given to the highest placegetters
- The heats will cater for a broad spectrum of maidens, with two to exclude first starters
- One heat will be open only to maidens prepared by Victorian trainers who registered fewer than 15 Victorian metropolitan wins in the 2021-22 racing season
“Sportsbet-Pakenham is an ideal track to start a campaign when looking for a maiden win, so this series is a great way to shine a light on that progress and provide extra incentive to race here under lights,” said Pakenham Racing Club CEO Blair Odgers.
Matthew Welsh, the new Racing Victoria General Manager, echoed that sentiment in a statement.
“We are delighted to unveil Sportsbet Future Stars which is a lucrative launchpad for emerging horses and an exciting addition to Victoria's racing program,” he said.
“With a combined $1.2 million in prizemoney, Sportsbet Future Stars will be Australia's richest maiden series and a great target for the owners and trainers of maiden horses.
“We're particularly excited to make Sportsbet Future Stars a real focal point of Thursday night racing at Sportsbet-Pakenham with punters able to follow the form lines throughout the series.”