A return to racing in the South Island isn’t the only thing filly and mare owners will be excited about this weekend.
Canterbury Jockey Club’s NZB Insurance Pearl Series race (1200m) on 27 June will give Pearl Series registered fillies and mares their first opportunity since the COVID-19 lockdown to secure Pearl bonuses, as well as a one-off incentive for second-placegetters running until the end of this July.
For the six remaining Pearl Series races of the 2019-20 racing season, NZB Insurance and New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing will contribute an extra $3,000 to the owners of Pearl Series registered fillies or mares who finish second in any of the scheduled Pearl bonus races. This will be paid out on top of the usual $11,500 Pearl Series bonus apportioned to owners, trainers and nominators if their registered filly or mare wins the race.
Race 6 in Saturday’s meeting at Riccarton is a Rating 67 Handicap race scheduled to take place at 1.25pm, where five Pearl registered fillies and mares have been accepted among a mixed sex field of up to 15 runners.
The strong line-up includes the Michael and Matthew Pitman-trained last start winner Elle Makfi (NZ) (Makfi), who has claimed two Pearl Bonuses consecutively earlier this year and is aiming for a third.
Also trained by the duo is the four-year-old Our Girl Gilly (NZ) (Guillotine), winner of a previous NZB Insurance Pearl Series Handicap (1250m) in January this year.
Owner-trainers John and Karen Parsons have put forward their four-year-old Llovizna (NZ) (Highly Recommended), while the Go Racing team also have a runner in the field, three-year-old Sanctify (NZ) (Reliable Man), trained by Andrew Carston.
Tavistock filly Papagena (NZ) completes the line up of Pearl registered horses in the race, the three-year-old is a recent trial winner trained by Kevin & Pam Hughes.
Due to Saturday’s race being mixed sex, the usual Pearl Series winners’ bonus of $11,500 will be paid to connections of the first Pearl registered horse home and the second place Pearl Series bonus of $3,000 will be paid to owners of the next Pearl registered horse to cross the line.
Since its inauguration, the NZB Insurance Pearl Series bonus scheme has seen millions of dollars paid out to Southern Hemisphere-bred filly and mare owners, breeders, trainers and nominators making it an integral part of the New Zealand racing industry.