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Pearl Series off to a flying start

Way In (second from right) clings  to the lead to win her second Pearl bonus at Ellerslie last weekend. - Photo NZTM website
Way In (second from right) clings to the lead to win her second Pearl bonus at Ellerslie last weekend.

Photo NZTM website

The connections of the smart two-year-old filly Way In (Thewayyourare [USA]-Small Parcels[AUS]) are big fans of the NZB Insurance Pearl Series, after she won her second $8,000 bonus when winning the NZB Insurance Pearl Series 2YO at Ellerslie recently.

Way In won the first ever Pearl Bonus when she took out a two-year-old event at Avondale in October. Promoted by the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Association and sponsored by NZB Insurance, the series commenced this season with 15 two-year-old races having their stakes boosted by $8,000. Five races have been run so far and three bonuses have been won, two of them by Way In and the other by O'Marilyn(O'Reilly-Monroe Magic) owned by Barry Rissetto and Trevor McKee and trained by his son Stephen.

Way In races in the famous cream and brown colours worn by the immortal champion Bonecrusher, as she is part-owned by his owners Peter and Shirley Mitchell. They share in the ownership with Graeme Halse, Richard de Lautour and Ali Ritchie whose husband Shaune trains the filly.

This was her second win and she is now eligible for the Karaka Million also at Ellerslie on the eve of the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sales late in January. Following her first win, she ran fourth in the listed Wellesley Stakes at Trentham and second in the listed Murdoch Newall Stakes at Counties. She was unplaced in the listed Wentworth Grange Stakes at Te Rapa before her Ellerslie win.

"The Pearl Series has obviously worked well for us," enthused the filly's trainer Shaune Ritchie. "The two bonuses have made all the difference and given us options, and with the extra money in the bank it is all the more enjoyable..

"We now have options after the Karaka Million. Providing she comes through the race well, we will look at the group one Diamond Stakes, and after that we could take her to Australia as we have the money in the bank.

"At this stage she has got the physical edge on a few of the other two-year-olds so we may as well use it. She has come through the race well. She has had soreness issues before so I had the vet go over her and he reports that she is better than ever."

Ritchie nominated three yearling fillies for the NZB Insurance Pearl Series when it was introduced last year, and at this stage the other two have not trialled or raced yet, but they still have two more seasons after this to race for bonuses. Those bonuses increase to $20,000 for a Saturday race and $10,000 for a mid-week race for eligible three and four year olds. And there are plenty of opportunities to race for those bonuses with 180 mid-week races and 20 allocated Saturdays nationwide.

"It's a great series, especially for breeders and nominators. Fortunately I nominated the fillies, not Ali, so I get to spend the nominators bonus on Lion Red. If Ali had been the nominator her bonus would have gone on dresses and hats, but somehow I get the feeling it may end up going that way anyway.

"It's been a good series for us and any fillies we buy at the sales this year that aren't already nominated will put forward into the series,"he said.

To be eligible for the NZB Insurance Pearl Series fillies must be nominated as yearlings. Early bird nominations for yearlings fillies are open now with the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Association at a cost of $690,, which must be paid by February 28 2014. Fillies can still be registered up until 31 July but the nomination fee is then $920.

As an extra incentive, all fillies nominated in the NZB Insurance Pearl Series, who are insured with NZB Insurance from the time of their nomination, are eligible for an additional bonus of $100,000 if they win the 2015 New Zealand 1000 Guineas for three-year-old fillies.

For more details on the NZB Insurance Pearl Series contact the NZTBA or visit their website at where nominations and payment can be completed online.

- Michelle Saba


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