Here is an article that was recently in the racing post about a very successful horse trained here, we currently have his only thoroughbred offspring in training.
With all due respect to July festival Group-race winners and two year-olds of huge promise, none of them can hold a candle to Mine, one of the handicap heroes of all time.
Trained by James Bethell, Mine could get a mile at a pinch but what he loved was seven furlongs, a huge field and, come July, to follow all the road signs that lead from Middleham to Newmarket.
He first won the Bunbury Cup in 2002 when sent off 5-1 favourite under Kieren Fallon. A year later he was back and got chinned a short nut by the very useful Patavellian, who the following month hosed up in the Stewards’ Cup by three and a half lengths.
If you thought a win and narrow second marked the full extent of Mine’s love affair with the Bunbury Cup you could not be more mistaken. But in 2004 he missed the July festival, which was perfectly understandable as he has a residency at Ascot that season landing both Victoria Cup and Royal Hunt Cup. All nice, soft easy races.
Aged seven in 2005, the old boy bounced back in the Bunbury at 16-1, getting home by a short head under 9st 9lb of Richard Quinn, off a 17lb higher mark than his previous success three years earlier.
Early on the morning of July 14, 2006, Bethell chucked Mine the keys to the horsebox and said : “Usual gig, old boy. You need to find a chap called Mick Kinane, he’ll do the steering bit, although to be honest you know more about the race than he does.”
Last with three furlongs to go, Mine stormed through and dotted up by two lengths, looking better than ever at the age of eight. He was bombproof and beautifully handled by his trainer.
A handicap legend, Mine retired to stud but, ludicrous to relate; only covered one thoroughbred mare and ended up as a teaser at the National Stud.
But there may be a twist to the tale. The resultant two-year old colt is now in training at the Bethells’, who suffered the devastating tragedy of losing their daughter Jessica to meningitis in October 2012.
The Bethell family have been tireless fundraisers for the Jessica Bethell Charitable Foundation ever since. James Bethell says the colt, Jessinamillion, shows promise and will make his debut next month.
Here’s hoping, for all concerned.