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Good News for Fillies and Mares

At last there is good news for the owners of fillies and mares.

After intensive consistent lobbying by the NZTBA, NZTR have approved an additional $150,000 of funding for a fillies and mares races and pledged that there will be additional races included in the programming schedule due out in late November especially for fillies and mares. The NZTBA President and NZTR board representative Peter Francis is pleased to announce that the NZTR board has approved these two incentives. "Firstly NZTR has agreed to expand and develop an ongoing pathway for fillies and mares racing in the programming schedule whereby fillies and mares will be able to compete against themselves through the grades. "Secondly an additional $150,000 has been allocated to fund a series of races to be held in the late summer and early autumn for fillies and mares which will culminate in two separate finals over 1200 metres and 1600 metres and will be for fillies and mares in maidens and the rating 70 band. "It's a wonderful breakthrough and we hope it will encourage owners and breeders to get those fillies out of the paddock and into work, knowing that they will only have race against their own sex and they can win enough stake money to cover their costs," said Francis. It is the desire of NZTR to give fillies and mares the opportunity to race against each other right through to Rating 80 and 90 and this will eliminate the scenario which is commonplace now, where for example when a three-year-old filly wins a maiden race and steps up to rating 70 she is likely to have to race against older colts and geldings, and under the drop back system these may include five and six year-olds who have won three or four races. From mid November the programming committees in the three racing regions will have to roll out an additional number of fillies and mares races across the board, across the ratings band and across the three types of race days. It is hoped that eventually there will be a fillies and mares race on a Saturday available to owners once every fortnight. The cost of these races has been included in the budgets and the funding models set out for the new season. Unlike the first three months of the new season where in the north there are 13 maiden races for fillies and mares, three rating 70 races, three rating 80 races and one rating 90. In the CD there are 13 maiden races, and in the South Island there are none. Over and above that is the additional $150,000 which will be allocated to a special incentive series culminating in two finals with two races worth $50,000 each. It is envisaged that this series will commence in late February and run through until early May. It will be staged on maiden and rating 70 races, and the finals will be handicap events based on the number of points the contenders have. The two finals over the distances of 1200 metres and 1600 metres will be held on different days to enable one horse to win both and it is proposed that the finals will be worth $50,000 each. The finer details and the actual races will be announced in due course once the consultation with the appropriate programming committee has taken place. "We will be rolling this scheme out in the northern region this season with the idea of forming a prototype for the Central Districts and South Island in the future. The beauty of this scheme is that the $150,000 will go on top of the stakes as a bonus as the races programmed will already be in place due to the directive in the first part of the announcement and covered by the new funding model. "It's an exciting concept and long overdue but finally we can offer breeders some incentive to race their fillies and mares as well as giving them some hope of a return if they do breed a filly," he added. "The idea of the scheme is to give those fillies and mares that may never achieve black type a chance to win three or four races and some decent prize money so they can progress to the broodmare paddock. "It is very satisfying to get these proposals through especially the additional programming of the fillies and mares races, the consistent programming of fillies and mares races has been sadly lacking, With the introduction of these races fillies and mares may be able to race against each other right through to rating 80 or 90 and not have to compete with the colts and geldings. Economically it will be viable to have a filly or mare in work. "As we approach the new racing and breeding season I am pleased that we are able to offer some good news and some positive progress," he concluded.

- Michelle Saba