The Harness Plus Bonus Scheme is nearing its conclusion for the for the 2011/12 harness racing season and also for its lifespan. To date this harness racing season 39 of an estimated budget of 42 bonuses have been struck in both Harness Plus 9 and Harness Plus 10.
Of those bonuses struck 41% have been struck in the Canterbury region, 30% in the North Island and 29% in Otago/Southland.
The good balance continues through to the sex of the winners with 44% of the bonuses struck being by fillies or mares, in line with the percentage of the racing population.
Trotters have been hit or miss this season however. Of the six bonuses secured by trotters all six have been by four-year-olds.
The dominance of Escapee over her three-year-old contemporaries denying some paid up trotters an extra $3,500 in early-season races.
Recently the Harness Racing New Zealand Board resolved not to seek subscriptions for what would have been Harness Plus 13 for this year's foals. The Bonus and Incentive scheme that was borne with the aid of NZRB fundingback in 2002 is now running out of reserves and to prop the scheme up in the future HRNZ would be forced to subsidise the scheme from money designated for race stakes.
Given the situation that Harness Plus is not self sufficientit was decided to discontinue Harness Plus after series 12 has concluded.Series that are now running will continue through to their conclusion and this will round out the bonus scheme nicely that was originally earmarked for an approximate 10 year lifespan at its inception.
To date 726 bonuses have been paid out; a total value of just under $2.8 million.
by Andrew MORRIS (HRNZ)