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Big Pay Day for Pearl fillies

Last week three lucky sets of owners had their winning stakes increased by $11,500 when they won NZB Insurance Pearl Series fillies and mares races.

And the timing couldn't be better for the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Association who are the promoters of the scheme.

"Right now is the time to register your current yearling fillies in the scheme," according to NZTBA Administration Manager Nicola Griffiths, "as Early Bird entries close on February 28th."

"Happy owners winning $18,500 for a maiden race is the best publicity we can get for the scheme, and we are pleased with the steady flow of entries we have for the 2016 Series".

The NZB Insurance Pearl Series was introduced for yearling fillies in 2013, with $2.6 million worth of bonuses available for each new group of yearlings as they race in their two, three and four-year-old years.

At the Avondale meeting last week two bonuses were available, and both were struck.

Karaka based breeders Clyde and Pat Buckingham, otherwise known as Emblem Limited, got both the owner's and nominator's bonus when their three-year-old Rip Van Winkle filly Larsala won a maiden 1200 event, at only her second start, and her trainer Moira Murdoch picked up a $1000 bonus.

"We nominate all our fillies for the scheme, I think it's a great scheme to assist owners and breeders, and it's great to actually win one," enthused Buckingham.

Ardmore based trainer Stephen McKee who trained Lilyput, a four-year-old O'Reilly mare to win the 1400 metre maiden agrees.

"I love the scheme, it literally doubles the stake money. In the end it was a winning stake of $18,500 and that's a lot better than $7,000 for midweek. It's a great scheme, we have won a few bonuses now and all the yearlings I have bought this year will be nominated," he said.

"Trevor part owns Lilyput and he was the nominator as well so gets an extra $500 bonus, he was delighted with the win."

The third bonus won for the week was in the South Island by Backhand, a four-year-old Falkirk mare Riccarton trainer Michael Pitman races on lease from Windsor Park who were the nominators in this case.

"It's the third NZB Insurance Pearl Bonus I have won this season. Night Nurse won at the end of January, she won a bonus on a rating 65 race. She is raced in partnership by me with Ray Coupland and Graham Hawker.

"While It's No Secret won at Dunedin early in December. He is raced by Snow Thomas of Just Tommy fame and a group of his friends and families, they were delighted with the extra bonus stake".

"I have three three-year-olds that are nominated as well, and I bought a Pins filly at the sales and I have enrolled her already".

"It's a great scheme and I am a huge fan, racing for $18,500 instead of $7,000 is terrific. It would be nice if next season the clubs would programme a few more races for rating 75 fillies and mares between 1400 and 1600 metres. Also put a bonus on some distance races, even if they aren't restricted to fillies and mares they would still get an allowance, and a chance to run over ground while competing for a bonus".

"I'm only a horse trainer but I think some of the programming by the clubs could do with some tweaking, however I am a devout enthusiast of the scheme."

This season the bonuses have been added to races programmed predominantly maiden and rating 65 events for fillies and mares, which under NZTR policy carry a midweek stake of $12,000, much to the delight of the winning owners.

Each intake of yearlings are eligible to run in 15 open two-year-old races with an $8,000 bonus, 20 Saturday races with a $20,000 bonus on top of the stake, and 180 mid-week races with bonuses of $11,500 over the three years.

The scheme is open to all fillies born in the spring of 2014 who are currently yearlings, whether they were born in New Zealand or Australia, and they do not have to be sold through a sales company to be eligible for the scheme.

The early bird nomination price for yearling fillies that are registered by February 28 is $690, and those registered afterwards and before 31 July will have to pay $920. Nominations can be done online through the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Association website: or contact Nicola Griffiths on the Pearl Hotline 0508-222-202.

Alternatively the NZTBA will be hosting a Pearl Series information open day in "The Gazebo" at the Matamata Breeders Stakes meeting on Saturday February 27th and would welcome any last minute nominations and enquiries.

- Michelle Saba


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