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Outstanding Results in NZB Insurance Pearl Series for Karaka Graduates

The New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance Pearl Series has become an enormously popular and richly rewarding initiative in New Zealand racing, and results show that the National Yearling Sales Series at Karaka is a terrific source of quality contenders for the lucrative bonuses.

The New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Association Pearl Series is a bonus scheme for New Zealand-bred fillies and mares, offering bonuses of almost $2.6 million and prizemoney of nearly $2.8 million. The scheme includes 215 individual races for fillies and mares over three seasons' racing, with bonuses for each race of up to $20,000. The Series has been designed to benefit owners, trainers and breeders of fillies and mares running in New Zealand and are available in all regions of the country. All bonuses are cumulative, so a horse can win multiple bonuses throughout her racing career.

In the 2015-16 season there were more than 20 victories by graduates of the Karaka sale ring, including seven from the Select Sale and five from the Festival Sale.

One of the headline acts has been the $6,000 Festival Sale find First Serve (NZ) (Swiss Ace), whose career got off to an auspicious start with a win in a Pearl Series event. The talented filly won seven of her nine starts including the Group 3 Canterbury Breeders' Stakes (1400m). Including that Pearl Series bonus, she earned more than $150,000 for her connections.

Leading South Island horseman Michael Pitman, who trains in partnership with his son Matthew, is an outspoken supporter of the Pearl Series and has said that he always recommends enrolment in the scheme to his stable clients.

Pitman bought First Serve (NZ) (Swiss Ace), Queen Serene (NZ) (Thorn Park) and Fade To Grey (NZ) (Guillotine) specifically with the Pearl Series in mind, and are raced by a large group of owners scattered all around New Zealand who have joined forces under the name Pearl Fillies Syndicate.

"They're a great group of owners that we put together to target those Pearl Series bonus races," Pitman said.

The syndicate's other two runners, Queen Serene and Fade To Grey, are both winners and have recorded placings in Pearl Series bonus races, which they will continue to specifically target.

The Pitman stable has had Pearl Series success with two other Karaka graduates including Night Nurse (NZ) (Tavistock), who came out of the 2013 Select Sale and also eclipsed her purchase price in one hit when she won a NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1400m) at Motukarara in January last year. She earned $7,500 in prize-money as well as an $11,500 Level B bonus.

Night Nurse is now the winner of five of her 18 starts, placing in another eight. Including the Pearl Series bonus, she has earned more than $115,000 for her connections.

Two other star performers in the Pearl Series in the 2015-16 season were Ventura (NZ) (Iffraaj) and Seymour (NZ) (Fast 'N' Famous), who each won two bonus races.

Ventura was purchased by Pukekohe trainer Richard Collett for $40,000 at the 2013 Select Sale. Her first Pearl Series victory came in a maiden race at Avondale in August 2015, for which she earned prize-money of $7,500 and a bonus of $11,500.

That was followed two months later by another Pearl Series win at Otaki, earning $15,625 in prize-money and a $20,000 bonus.

Those two Pearl Series victories earned Ventura more than $54,000, which exceeded her purchase price at Karaka.

Seymour's first win came at Hawke's Bay in January 2016, earning $7,500 in prize-money for trainer and part-owner Ross McCarroll. She also earned a Level C bonus of $8,000.

The daughter of Fast 'N' Famous was at it again in May, winning at New Plymouth for another $7,500 in prize-money and a Level B bonus of $11,500. That total of $34,500 also exceeds her purchase price at the 2013 Festival Sale.

The Pearl Series has also been a springboard to black-type success for a number of Karaka graduates. First Serve won the Group 3 Canterbury Breeders' Stakes, Summer's Day (NZ) (Pins) claimed the Listed Tauranga Classic, Ruud Not Too (NZ) (Bernardini) scored in the Group 2 Rich Hill Mile and Lasarla(NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) won the Group 2 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes.

Early bird nominations for the 2017 NZB Insurance Pearl Series close on 17th March 2017 with final entries closing on 31st July 2017. Contact the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Association to find out more about Pearl Series and to nominate your filly in this lucrative incentive Series.