Posts Tagged ‘Spirit Of Beth’

Thanks to breeder David Phillips, I now have much more information on this family, and with his permission will reproduce some of it here.

It is a lovely story of belief in a mare and she has repaid affection and belief by establishing one of the top modern breeding families in New Zealand.

David’s connection with the family started when he bought Tabella Beth’s dam Double Tested as an older empty mare. He points out the New Zealand origins of the family start with Roydon Lodge importing the mare Belle Keller, as mentioned in Roy McKenzie’s book “The Roydon Heritage” on p119:

Certissimus, one of New Zealand’s greatest juvenile trotters, traced to Belle Keller imported by JR [Roy’s father John Robert McKenzie] in the 1920s. Before shipping her to New Zealand, he had her bred to Arion Guy 1:591/4.

The result of that match was Roydon’s Pride, the dam of Certissimus. Belle Keller was then bred to Arion Guy for another daughter called Past Memories. (In fact all six of the foals bred here from Belle Keller were fillies). Four more generations on from Past Memories is Double Tested. I’ll let David pick up the story:

I bought Tabella Beth’s dam (Double Tested) in dispersal sale when I was as just starting out in harness racing/breeding – and I bought several older mares as they were in my price bracket (I still to this day love older mares who have already been good dams of some quality winners) . Had I then been more experienced, I probably would not have bought Double Tested….from memory she cost me about $400 and was old and empty, and had not got in foal for some years. I bought her at auction from Don Hayes if my recall is correct. When I got Double Tested home I realised she was more like stallion, and had lost her femininity, and I guess her ability to breed. She also later demonstrated with a petite feminine mare a definite lesbian tendency. But that is another story? It was a journey and a half to get her cycling again as a female..The next breeding season I sent Double Tested and her girlfriend to Nandina Stud with strict request to Max Allan that the two mares were not to be separated, and both would likely come into season same days and be served same days….in end they were served by Able Bye Bye (a sire I loved then, and still do today). Both mares got pregnant and both had their filly foals within day of each other. Double Tested’s filly was Tabella Beth.
David describes Tabella Beth as an amazing horse from day one.
When a foal beside her mum, Tabella Beth would come running up to me and be by my side as I would each day take mares and foals feed. As I moved and fed out into each feed jn paddock she was more interested in human contact, than her daily feed; but she would then get the last feed.
It was not till her mid 3yo year that she demonstrated high sustained speed for trainer John Butcher, and won 4 of her last 7 races as 3yo filly.
For racing in NZ Tabella Beth was one of first horses we syndicated- via one of the first standardbred syndicates in NZ called ‘Redvale’. That was before days of National Bloodstock. My (now late) parents were members of that Tabella Beth Redvale racing syndicate. Some people I still meet in harness racing today were also syndicate members racing Tabella Beth. I can still recall a race at ATC, when she was favourite, and Reg Clapp saying words such as: “the favourite Tabella Beth would have to have wings to win from there” (she was last at about 400m mark). She had remarkable quick sprint, and that night at ATC she flew past the entire field in length of ATC straight, and duly won.
After showing such high speed, Tabella Beth was then sold for 100k to a USA buyer (the Pelling family). But that’s when a sentimental connection and a belief in a very good mare served New Zealand well.
After we set-up National Bloodstock, I was determined to buy Tabella Beth back from USA, to bring her back to NZ to breed to our new sire Soky’s Atom. Soky had a lot of Adios blood on dam line – which i sought to mix with the Able Bye Bye links.  In USA Tabella Beth was, I heard, used as a betting horse – and so her form was sporadic. In one USA race she was meant to win, she only got clear very late in that race, and flew home to miss by nose in world record time for mares. I was in USA, and watched her in her last race at the Meadowlands – the day before her auction sale. I had gone to see her in her stable the morning of the race and she looked terrible – thin and dejected. When I went into her stall with her, she went from drab and dejected to alert and with an amazing recall of her and my prior positive and loving relationship, and she perked up in an incredible way. Then she put her head under my armpit, and snuggled up – and I knew I had to buy her back, no matter what the cost.  The then USA agent David James (now master of Empire Stallions) was with me when I visited her in her stall that day, and we were both going to Meadowlands racetrack that night – where she was racing. I said to David she would win that night – given she knew I would be watching her. But David pointed out the strong field, and showed her poor current race form, and reminded me of her poor physical condition. She was the outsider of the field – and she duly sprinted down the outside from last and won easily. She took her lifetime mark that night. I am not a better/punter of any substance – but I did put a few dollars on her that night. I re-purchased Tabella Beth from that next day dispersal sale in New Jersey, USA – but the Yankees saw me coming, so I overpaid to buy her back for NZ.
On her arrival in New Zealand, Dave Phillips was given the news that the mare had had one of her ovaries removed, probably when with a USA trainer and it was possible that she could not bred at all!  The good news is she did breed. Today (despite not many horses emanating yet from her line) she has become one of most influential broodmares in NZ history. She was awarded the Broodmare of Excellence in 2001/02 in NZ.
Tabella Beth foaled a total of 13 foals who lived past yearling age (Atom Of Zeus died soon after being named), of which 5 were fillies. All 8 of her colts won. In terms of type and race ability David Phillips rates them:
Her best filly, in my view, was Spirit of Bethlehem, who we never even got broken in. She in turn only left 1 filly from 2 foals…and that filly had lightening speed when educated by Malcolm Shinn, and she was injured, and is now top class broodmare Spirit of Eros. Spirit of Beth I would have ranked equal second of all of Tabella Beth’s fillies, along with Star Of Bethlehem. And then Sokys Sunday a distant fourth on type and she had no race ability. However this dam has herself left four individual 100k+ winners, and I bred Asoka from her daughter [New York On Sunday], and he has also won over $160,000 in Australia and is now in USA. BUT then it also depends on sire choices of each generation.

In his view the family has crossed very well with In The Pocket but not so well with Christian Cullen in terms of racing success (Bethany, the dam of Lazarus, is by Christian Cullen, but was unraced herself). In David’s view the best crosses for this mare’s dam family include:

  1. Bettor’s Delight
  2. Real Desire
  3. Sweet Lou
  4. Somebeachsomewhere and his sons
  5. Art Major
  6. American Ideal
  7. Tintin In America
  8. Mach Three and his sons- especially with Soky Atom to dam (Auckland Reactor)
  9. Sands A Flyin
  10. Lis Mara
  11. Elsu
  12. Ponder
  13. McArdle
Spirit Of Beth

Spirit Of Beth, grandam of Lazarus, is now at Benstud in Australia. Her two last foals are both mares – a 2010 foal by Grinfromeartoear and a 2012 foal by Art Major. Both these mares are now broodmares for Benstud. Photo taken from Benstud website: http://www.benstudstandardbreds.com.au/


Many thanks to David Phillips for sharing this – and a lot more that I can’t fit in!
Just a footnote from me – one of Spirit Of Eros’ progeny is Spirit And Desire who has been one of my favourite mares to follow at the races, such a beautiful looking mare by Real Desire an one of his strongest. I see David has leased her and she is now in foal to American Ideal. Spirit And Desire is one branch of the family I will take particularly interest in following.

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