The last $20,000 NZB Insurance Pearl Bonus for the season was struck last Saturday at Te Rapa by the four-year-old Azamour (IRE) mare Polly Grey.
“It was her last chance,” said part-owner and trainer Kylie Fawcett.
“It was the last $20,000 Saturday bonus and she turns five next month so will no longer be eligible.”
Polly Grey headed home a field of 12 mares in the rating 72 1600 metre event, and five of the first six home were all chasing the bonus.
This is the second bonus Polly Grey has won, and her third win from just eight starts. Fawcett hasn’t been frightened to chase Pearl bonuses which probably explains why she has won three as a trainer making her eligible for the trainer’s bonus as well, and one as an owner. She has also picked up the nominator’s bonus of $1000 on each occasion as well.
Half of Polly Grey’s race day starts have been in Pearl races.
“I have targeted the Pearl races with Polly, and I did the same with Tattybogler when I raced her, they are so worth targeting,” enthused Fawcett.
“Winning a $10,000 bonus midweek is better than winning a Saturday maiden race, its definitely worthwhile and we absolutely have all our fillies we intend to race nominated. We have four three-year-old fillies in the stable at the moment who haven’t started yet but will be ready to go in the new season.”
Fawcett races the talented Polly Grey with her partner Rob Joyce and her brother Brook.
“We gave Brook a little share as a bit of a tonic as he has been unwell recently, and that’s worked out well, and she’s a bit special to me as she was left to me by her breeder Barbara Perry.”
Perry a stalwart of the NZTBA and a known pedigree enthusiast, used to keep her horses at Fawcett’s Oxford Thoroughbreds property, before she passed away.
“I used to look after all her horses, Blue Heaven and Allanah both lived here. Allanah was a talented galloper but unfortunately, she was one dimensional and head strong. Polly is her first and only foal. Barbara left Allanah to Anne Marie and Nick King but unfortunately they haven’t had any luck with her.”
Allanah is the fourth foal from the winning Centaine(AUS) mare Blue Heaven, who is also the dam of the Gr.1 Easter Handicap winner Pasta Post (Postponed[USA]) and the Gr.3 Hawkes Bay Gold Cup winner Don Domingo (Don Eduardo).
The NZB Insurance Pearl Bonus scheme has been running for six years now and was the brainchild of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, who had previously managed the successful FAMIS and TBS bonus schemes.
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.
With the support of NZTR they produced a scheme which offers up to $2.6 million in bonuses over three seasons, with 10 $20,000 Saturday bonuses for three and four-year-olds, 100 $10,000 midweek bonuses across the rating spectrum from maidens through to Rating 75, over various distances and throughout the country. While in their two-year-old season there are 10 two-year-old races with Pearl bonuses. These are standard programmed two-year-old events, and the fillies compete against the colts and geldings for an $8,000 bonus.
Although the last $20,000 bonus has been won, Wednesday July 24 will see the final $10,000 bonus of the current season up for grabs at the NZB Insurance sponsored NZB Insurance Pearl Series Raceday at Matamata. The first NZB Insurance Pearl Bonus in the 2019/20 season will be contested for at Ruakaka on August 11.
Entries for fillies born in the Southern Hemisphere in 2017 close on July 31, and more details about the scheme can be found on the NZTBA website: www.nzthoroughbred.co.nz -Michelle Saba, NZTBA