Our Girl Gilly (NZ) secured the first NZB Insurance Pearl Series bonus since the COVID-19 lockdown.
Five NZB Insurance Pearl Series registered fillies and mares put on a solid performance in the NZB Insurance Handicap (1200m) at Riccarton last Saturday, with Our Girl Gilly (NZ) (Guillotine) securing the first NZB Insurance Pearl Series bonus since the COVID-19 lockdown.
Storming down the home straight to place second in the race, the Michael and Matthew Pitman-trained mare was the first Pearl Series registered horse home earning her connections an $11,500 bonus.
Owners Ken and Bev Voyce were overwhelmed by Our Girl Gilly’s one off special Pearl Series bonus payment.
“We were so thrilled with her first Pearl Series win back in January and thought that was unbelievable, but to get another bonus is really amazing.
“We would like to thank NZB Insurance for the opportunity and for sponsoring such a great series for fillies,” commented Voyce.
Third placegetter, Papagena (NZ) (Tavistock), was the second Pearl Series registered mare home, earning an extra $3000 bonus for owner Rodger Finlay who was delighted by the benefit.
“A very welcome bonus made our first start back since the COVID-19 lockdown even more special.
“It was nice to be back racing and this put the icing on the cake.
“I think the Pearl Series is a great initiative to keep our fillies and mares racing in New Zealand,” he said.
The next Pearl Series races take place at Te Rapa and Awapuni on Saturday. Although there will not be the one off incentive paid to Our Girl Gilly and Papagena at Riccaton NZTR will pay the usual Pearl bonuses if the first filly/mare home (official placings) is Pearl nominated, and the Pearl second place Owner Bonus of $3,000 (an initiative that will be in place until 31 July) will be paid if the second filly/mare home is Pearl nominated.
Four Pearl registered fillies and mares have been accepted among a mixed sex field in Race Three, a Rating 64 Handicap race over 1000m scheduled to take place at 11.30am at Te Rapa. In Awapuni, three Pearl registered fillies and mares have been accepted in a mixed sex field in Race Nine, a Rating 61 Handicap over 1400m running at 3.28pm.
Currently there is no set program for the Pearl Series until the new season racing calendar. NZTR race programmer Tim Aldridge explains – “What we are trying to do is identify a race/distance in which we can include the most Pearl horse post nominations and pre acceptances. The problem we have is that we are so over-subscribed in terms of runners we can’t just select Pearl horses out as they don’t have preference to gain a start over non-Pearl horses”.
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.
Registrations close 31 July 2020.