Early Bird entries for the 2018 intake of yearling fillies for the NZB Insurance Pearl Series are being taken now by the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Association (NZTBA) but will close on March 16.
“Now is the time to register any fillies that you may have bought at the sales, or that you have brought home from the sales, for them to be eligible for Pearl Bonuses in the 2018-19 season through until the 2020-21 season,” according to NZTBA Business Development Manager Justine Sclater.
“All fillies born in the Southern Hemisphere in 2016 are eligible to be entered, they don’t have to have been through a sale, and it doesn’t matter if they were born in Australia, the important thing is that they are entered as yearlings. Having a Pearl nomination is a considerable advantage to their racing career.
“All too often now, I am fielding phone calls from breeders who want to enrol their fillies when they have already turned two. They have seen the benefits of the scheme, but are missing out as it’s too late to enrol their fillies.
“The Early Bird fee is $920 (incl GST) for fillies enrolled by March 16, which if you factor it out over the horse’s racing career its $300 a year, and then it jumps up to $1380 (incl GST). All fees must be paid by July 31 2018, before the fillies turn two.”
The scheme was launched five years ago, and was developed by the NZTBA. They identified the need for a new bonus scheme principally to support their members who retain their fillies to race and to entice new owners into buying a filly to race locally.
Working on the principal that without fillies racing now we don’t have a breeding industry going into the future, NZTBA worked with New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing and NZB Insurance to create a scheme that would benefit the domestic racing scene.
They produced a scheme which has three levels of bonuses, A, B and C.
A level A Bonus of $20,000 is on Fillies and Mares races programmed on a Saturday and there are 10 each season. From the bonus $17,000 is for the owner, $2,000 the trainer and the remaining $1, 000 for the nominator.
The Level B Bonus of $11,500 gives $10,000 to the owner, $1,000 to the trainer and $500 to the nominator. These bonuses are run on 100 midweek programmed fillies and mares races, across the rating spectrum from maidens through to rating 75, over various distances and throughout the country.
The Level C bonus of which there are 10 is worth $8,000 with $7,000 for the owner, $700 for the trainer and $300 for the nominator. These are standard programmed two-year-old events and the fillies had to compete and against the colts and geldings.
To date over 160 bonuses have been won and over $1.5million has been paid out to individual owners, syndicates, trainers and nominators across the country.
Tony Pike and Mike Pitman are among those who have really embraced the scheme and won in excess of 50 bonuses.
Cambridge trainer Tony Pike has won the most bonuses so far and he too is a big fan.
“It’s a huge head start for owners of maidens and rating 65 horses, it’s a significant amount of money returning around $17,500 to the owners with the stake and the bonus,” according to Pike.
“Generally with a maiden we try and target a Pearl Series race, and all our syndicated fillies and the fillies we buy at the sales are entered for the Pearl Series.”
Riccarton based trainer Mike Pitman has won eight bonuses including a couple this season and he is a strong advocate of the scheme and he tries to get as many owners as he can to nominate to the scheme.
“It’s a very worthwhile and it makes a massive difference to the stake money. I have by-passed feature race days to run in Pearl races. The fields in the midweek races are often not as strong as the fields on feature days and with the bonus boost its good money.
In the Central Districts Tony Bambry has won a number of bonuses both as a trainer and an owner and a nominator.
“Chrissy, Judith and I have targeted the Pearl Series Races since they started. Being able to run for these bonuses makes Maiden Fillies and Mares races on a Thursday the same stake for winning as a $30K race on a Saturday.
“We won two races with Acquisto in her three-year-old season adding $38,000 to her stakes tally, not bad for a weanling filly we bought out of the NZB Weanling Sale for $2,500.
Auckland based breeder Clyde Buckingham has supported the scheme since the start and has won three nominator bonuses and one as an owner.
“I’m a fan,” Buckingham said,” We register all our fillies for the series, it shows we have confidence in our stock and also if you sell them you still get your money back as the nominator.”
For more information on the NZB Insurance Pearl Series visit www.nzthoroughbred.co.nz. - Michelle Saba