IN Racing
Pearl Series revamped
There have been exciting changes made to the NZB Insurance Pearl Series for the 2022/23 season.
NZ Racing Desk | April 12, 2022
Enraptured winning a Pearl Series race. Photo - Trish Dunell

There have been exciting changes made to the NZB Insurance Pearl Series for the 2022/23 season.

From August 2022 bonuses will now be paid out to fillies and mares that finish first, second or third in a Pearl eligible race (previously only paid to winners) and the series will now be extended to cover previously registered mares up to and including their five-year-old season of racing.

A single bonus level will be offered for all Pearl races with the winning owner receiving $10,000, and the trainer and the nominator each receiving $500. In addition, the owner of the second horse will receive $2,000 and the owner of the third horse $1,000.

The series was first introduced by the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (NZTBA) ten years ago with 100 Pearl Series races being contested each year, with nearly 50 bonuses struck each term.

Looking to improve on the already popular series, NZTBA CEO Justine Sclater and scheme administrator Corrina Holmes canvassed participants for feedback then approached New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) and series sponsor NZB Insurance with proposed changes. All three parties were in favour of the amendments that will come into action in the 2022/23 racing season.

“New Zealand Bloodstock is commencing its tenth year of sponsoring the Pearl Bonus Series,” NZB Insurance’s Jim Bruford said.

“We thought it appropriate that a thorough revision of the bonus series be considered this year. Following discussions with NZTBA and NZTR we were pleased to continue our sponsorship after it was agreed that bonuses for registered fillies would be extended to those finishing second and third in eligible races.

“Further, the inclusion of five-year-olds into the scheme was also welcomed. Improving returns for owners is something NZB are pleased to support and the fact that owners of fillies and mares will be the major beneficiaries is most satisfying.

“NZB Insurance receives tremendous support from breeders and owners insuring their valuable bloodstock and continuing our sponsorship into a 10th year is one way in which we can contribute to rewarding owners and maintaining the racing population in New Zealand.”

New Zealand Bloodstock are major supporters of fillies racing in New Zealand through the Filly of the Year Series and the South Island Filly of the Year Series. The sponsorship of the Pearl Series complements those two series, encouraging both breeders and owners to race their fillies.

Retaining fillies to race is beneficial to sustaining the New Zealand breeding industry and also benefits racing with large competitive fields racing for the bonus dollars.

NZB Insurance is one of the largest Insurance Agencies in Australasia, covering major studs and syndicates as well as having a significant presence insuring racehorses in Hong Kong and Singapore. 

NZTR chief executive Bruce Sharrock stated that NZTR was also in favour of a revamp of the Series.

“Encouraging as many fillies and mares as possible to race is both beneficial to overall field sizes as well as having a positive flow on impact on the race record of broodmare stock,” he said.

“A number of high-profile New Zealand thoroughbred mares have graduated from this series including Melody Belle, Avantage, Probabeel and this year’s Group One winners Levante and Belle En Rouge.

“We are happy to support the revised bonuses being introduced in the 2022/23 season including for those horses that registered under the previous fee structure and for five-year-olds next season that would previously not have been eligible.”

Early bird registrations for the current crop of Southern Hemisphere bred yearlings close with the NZTBA on May 31, while late nominations close on July 31.

To cover these additional bonuses there will be a slight increase in the cost of nominations this year, with the Early Bird fee being $1,000 +GST and the late entry fee being $1,500 +GST.

Further information on the NZB Insurance Pearl series can be found HERE

NZB Insurance Pearl Series New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Justine Sclater Corrina Holmes Jim Bruford NZTBA