By Michael Guerin
One of New Zealand racing’s most successful ever bonus schemes is set to become even more inclusive as it passes a $1.5million milestone.
Addington’s Met Multiplier produced its 200th bonus winner in a rare triple deadheat of sorts for the honour at Addington last Friday.
The club went into the meeting having paid out 198 bonuses to horses who have at least 15 starts during a rolling one-year period and won at least on race (deadheats counting) during that same period.
Three horses met that criteria in the same race last Friday so the connections of Jaw D Nancy, Medusa and Jerry Garcia all got paid the $7500 even though none of them won the Kaiapoi ITM Trot. The bonus is divided $5000 to the owners and $2500 to the trainer.
The scheme has been running for six years and it took four years for the 100th winner to come up, just two more for that number to double.
That is $1.5million worth of bonuses to the industry, much of it going to horses racing in the very lowest grades.
While thrilled with the Met Multiplier scheme and the loyalty it has encouraged as well as the money it has plowed back into the industry, Addington are moving to make it even more accessible next season.
So from August 1 amateur races will count toward the scheme as well, with up to five of the 15 starts needed to qualify into a year allowed to be in amateur races.
And that can include the win needed to become fully eligible.
That inclusion will see a very slight reduction in the total bonus from $7500 to $7000, split $5000 to owners and $2000 to the trainer.
While harness racing worldwide has numerous bonus schemes, few have been as success or an openly embraced as the Met Multiplier and the latest change is going to make it even easier for battling horses to qualify, as well as further increase interest in amateur races.
The milestone came the same day Addington announced the conditions for this year’s Kiwi Punters Challenge, with one huge change.
Punters in the country’s biggest and richest punting competition, which culminates in a final at Addington on Show Day, November 16, will now be able to bet on fixed odds.
With fixed odds being such a huge component of harness racing turnover that is sure to further boost the popularity of the KPC. Fixed odds multi bets will not be allowed.
The first heat of the series will be Friday week at Addington, with any team/syndicate which finishes in the top 4 in any given heat eligible to pay up for the final.
Each heat winner will get $1500 on top of their winnings as well as $500 toward their finals entry, second place $500 toward the finals and third place $250 toward it, with fourth receiving an automatic invite.
Entry to the 12 heats are free, costing only the $500 for betting and the finals winner will receive $50,000 as well as a spot representing New Zealand at the US$2.5million NHC Punting Competition in Las Vegas.