Fillies of the Future

Avantage claiming her second Pearl Series bonus in a row in the $22,500 NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1200m) at Ellerlsie.
Avantage claiming her second Pearl Series bonus in a row in the $22,500 NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1200m) at Ellerlsie.

The future of the breeding history lies within the hands of the fillies performing on the racetracks today.

Five years ago the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Association worked off this principle to develop a scheme that would support the members of the industry and encourage purchasing and retaining fillies to race locally. A principal widely supported, New Zealand Bloodstock’s Insurance department got on board and in conjunction with the NZTBA the NZB Insurance Pearl Series was formed.

With earlybird nominations closing before Friday 16 March, at a lower fee of $920, it is a fitting time to touch base with our local owners, breeders and trainers who have benefited from the scheme since its introduction. These connections across the country have reaped the rewards collecting 160 bonuses and over $1.5 million from the Series in addition to the race day prizemoney.

Te Akau Racing embrace the scheme every year nominating all their yearling fillies for the Series.

“We think it is a fantastic, extremely well-run series and that New Zealand is lucky to have it,” commented David Ellis. “We support it with every filly and we have had a lot of luck winning those races.”

Avantage (Fastnet Rock) has won two bonuses this season for trainers Jamie Richards and Stephen Autridge and the duo have enjoyed success in previous seasons with Group 1-winning filly Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) who won a bonus on debut and the stakes winning stayer Grazia (NZ) (Savabeel) to name a few.

“The bonuses certainly have a bearing on where you aim your horse, as well as a number of other factors,” commented Richards.

“In the case of Avantage it certainly worked out well for her and the added stakes money is really well received by the owners.”

Awapuni-based trainer Tony Bambry has won a number of bonuses not only as trainer but also as an owner and nominator.

“All the fillies that we breed are entered into the Series, it makes it more worthwhile to race them,” said Bambry.

Allure (NZ) (Lonhro) is a filly we purchased as a yearling at Karaka to keep and breed from. She won a bonus last season at Taranaki and has been out for a break now. She could probably have a start now but there is a Pearl Series race at Wanganui we will wait for.”

Prominent Riccarton-based trainer Andrew Carston is a continued supporter of the Pearl Series and has collected three bonuses in the last three months. Madam Swiss (NZ) (Swiss Ace) started the winning streak followed in quick succession with Vishnu (NZ) (Highly Recommended) and Xpressmymind (NZ) (Shamexpress).  

“I think it is a fantastic scheme and I can’t get enough of it,” said Carston. “I try and nominate all my yearling fillies and if I know they are coming to my stables I’ll nominate as quick as I can.”

“There is a good scheme of races, there are plenty of them and the fact it goes for three years makes it money well spent at only just over $300 a year.”

The Series is open to any yearling filly, whether they have been bred or purchased in New Zealand and Australia, and with 200 races over three seasons they can contest for a share in the $2.4 million worth of bonuses. All owners who nominate their fillies will also receive competitive rates on mortality insurance policies, as well as “Life Saving Surgery” to the value of $10,000 at no additional cost.

“NZB is a leader in the sense of supporting and rewarding fillies,” commented NZB Insurance’s Jim Bruford. “We have supported the Filly of the Year Series for more than 40 years now, and committing to the Pearl Series is a further link to the chain which supports the grass roots of our industry.”

Complete your earlybird nominations for the NZB Insurance Pearl Series online at

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