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Galloping Gerte wins her second NZB Insurance Pearl Bonus Race for owners Bill and Noelene Bishop

Galloping Gerte winning the NZB Insurance Pearl Bonus Race at Matamata 13-12-16. Photo Race Images

Galloping Gerte winning the NZB Insurance Pearl Bonus Race at Matamata  13-12-16.  Photo Race Images
Winning back to back NZB Insurance Pearl Series races with Galloping Gerte (Align[AUS]-Miss Reset) has set her three-year-old campaign on the right track according to her owners.

"Now we have that extra $20,000 in bonuses in the bank as well as her winning stake money, we just have to place the horse in the right races to get to the New Zealand Oaks," said Bill Bishop whose wife Noeline bred and races the filly".

And following her impressive win in her second NZB Pearl Series race at Matamata this month Galloping Gerte will head to the Group Two Eight Carat Classic at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

The NZB Insurance Pearl Bonus Series is a bonus Scheme for fillies and mares offering bonuses of almost $2.6 million and prizemoney of nearly $2.8 million across 215 individual races for fillies and mares racing as two, three and four-year olds, and has been running since 2012.

Trained by Brian McKegg, Galloping Gerte commenced racing in mid-October on her home track at Tauranga and finished third, she followed that up with a second on the same track a fortnight later before heading to Te Aroha in late November where she won her first race.

"We started her at Tauranga instead of taking her to the trials and she got left at the start by five lengths got blocked in the straight and flew home rather waywardly to finish third", according to Bishop.

"At her next start she finished second after getting lost at the 800m and then not finding clear ground in the straight. While at Te Aroha it was a blanket finish and 200m from home you would not have thought she was in it".

"Noeline was born and bred in Te Aroha, she was so excited to win there, and she hasn't stopped talking about that win since then. Galloping Gerte was also named after her so that made it extra special. We didn't have a name for the horse, and Brian said what's Noeline's nick name, well when she was a child apparently her mother called her Galloping Gerte so that is how the filly got her name."

"The Matamata win was much more impressive, sweeping from the rear and going on to win by half a length, the speed and determination she shows is incredible. She is in the Eight Carat and holds a nomination for the Oaks. Brian hopes to take her to Trentham later in January for a look at the big track before she runs in the Oaks in March".

"We paid up for the Pearl Series and so I told Brian to target those races and it has really paid off. It's a great scheme well worth being part of."

The Bishops are based on a small block just outside of Tauranga, from where Bill runs a small livestock transport company. Although he does describe himself as semi-retired and jests that it is their pension money that pays for their racing interests.

Bill also has small shares in Blizzard and Greywacke with David and Emma Lee Browne, and admits that they have had a lot of fun with Blizzard and have high hopes for Greywacke.

They bought Miss Reset(Reset[AUS]-Juncture[AUS]) as a weanling at the NZB Mixed Bloodstock sale in 2008 for $2,500. She was trained by Brian McKegg but didn't win a race, however with Diamond Lover (AUS) (Sticks and Stones[AUS]-Eight Carat[AUS]) as her fourth dam it was decided she may be worth breeding from.

"Miss Reset was a pretty feisty horse and Brian suggested we send her to Align(AUS). She foaled over at Highview Stud and she had a weak immune system so Brent Gillovic suggested a course of treatment to help her, it was quite expensive at the time".

"Then he rang up and said the foal needed another course and it was Noeline that answered the phone and she said sure go ahead. Miss Reset wasn't a good mother, and when she came home here we supplemented the foal's feed with milk powder to give her a head start".

"We never took any short cuts with this horse and she had to have special hoof trimming as well, it's paying off now though. The paddock we have here is quite steep and she used to gallop up and down the hill all the time which has turned out to be really good for her".

"She's quite smart, but you don't mess with her, you can't trust her, she will kick, and she is very determined which she shows in her races. We are looking forward to seeing her in the Eight Carat. I reckon I might jump off the stand if she wins," he added, "then we will be back on New Year's Day to cheer Blizzard on in the Group Three City of Auckland Cup, it's going to be a busy and exciting time."

Enrolments are now being taken for the 2017 NZB Pearl Bonus Series for fillies who are currently yearlings. Earlybird nominations close on March 17 2017 and the fee is $920 incl. GST. Late entries with a fee of $1380 incl. close on July 31 2017. Visit www.nzthoroughbred.co.nz to register. – Michelle Saba