BLAST FROM THE PAST
BERTHABELL(1909 Peter The Great-Corona Mack). Dam Corona Mack was by Wilkes Boy(sire of Grattan, great Canadian family) with her third dam being the founding mare of USA family Kate by Highland Chief; placed as a pacer, $111; 16 foals, 11 winners. Breeder: C G Thompson, Kentucky, USA. Imported by and all her foals bred by E X (Etienne) Le Lievre, Akaroa(Oinako Stud).
The immortal trotting broodmare, Berthabell, was foaled in North America and was imported to NZ by Etienne Le Lievre in 1914 together with a filly foal by Bingen(Bell Bingen) and in foal to The Harvester whose colt foal died within days of birth. Imported at the same time was Nelson Bingen who went on to be a leading stallion. Le Lievre successfully imported from North America a number of sires including Harold Dillon, Wallace L, Great Audubon, Guy Parrish, Travis Axworthy and many mares apart from Berthabell(Miss Spear, Muriel Madison, Grattanette, Solon Gazella).
Berthabell raced as a pacer on five occasions producing three placings(two seconds and the third). Berthabell's female progeny included six daughters all of whom bred on leaving large families. It is only possible to provide a subjective snapshot of some of the better performers.
Bell Bingen was her first, foaled in North America and crippled when shipped to New Zealand with her dam. She did not race but produced many foals most of them were female, including Belita: grand dam of Au Fait(Trotting Stakes-three, Dominion Hcp) and sister Precocious(ID Trotting Final, Dominion Hcp, NZ Trotting FFA), 5th dam of Admiral Holliday(VIC Derby, Golden Nugget);Mavis Bingen: 4th dam of Spry(NZ/Kaikoura Cups) and Berkleigh(NZ Derby, Ashburton Cup), family of iron horse, Ldle Scott(219 starts-46 wins[36 at Alexandra Park}/75 placings $1/2m, Rowe Cup, National Trot twice, NZ Trotting FFA, Trotter of the Year, NZ Hall of Fame), Tip Your Hat(Qld Derby); Mavis De Oro: Kotare Knight, Deep Court, Henschke(SA Derby); Cyone: left a son of Logan Derby in Vodka(Dominion Hcp, NZ Trotting FFA, first Australasian winner in North America, NZ Hall of Fame), Mi Coconut(VIC Queen of Pacific), Die Wondering(NSW SS-2f); Parrish Belle(Rowe Cup); Young Travis(Westport Cup).
Bell Nelson, unraced, was the 4th dam of top performer Our Mana(Easter Cup, twice second in NZ Cup/second AK Cup) and a good mile performer(NZ Flying Mile, Down Under Miler/Waikato Flying Miles twice). He was the winner of the inaugural $10,000 West Coast bonus for winning three races on the Christmas circuit. Bertha Bingen, was the winner of two pacing races at Wanganui and grand dam of Indomitable(Rowe Cup). Bessie Bingen, twice a winner whose major credits were Contender(GN Stakes-2, GN Derby) and trotter Bessie Parrish. Corona Bell, winner of one trotting race when raced as a four- to eight-year-old, left Hopeful(Taranaki Cup). Bertha Parrish, Berthabell's final foal, was dam of Sea Gypsy who left NZ Cup winner Our Roger(Louisson Hcp, Ashburton Flying Stakes).
From Berthabell's female branch of the Kate family have come three winners of the Rowe Cup - 1937 Parrish Belle, 1950 Indomitable and 1990 Idle Scott.
Many of Berthabell's male progeny were successful in the breeding shed. Great Parrish(Guy Parrish) raced from a two-until a ten-year-old and was the winner of 14 races including two as a two-year-old (Hawkes Bay), GN Derby and an Auckland Cup at six, the latter two wins for J.T.(Jim) Paul. His 41 winners included Otahuhu Cup winner Parrish Lad, Bonniedene(GN Derby), Bold Venture(AK Cup trial, 2nd AK Cup) and damsire of Indian Parrish(Rowe Cup), champion Australian mare Angelique(VIC Oaks, SA Cup), Gold Horizon(NZ Trotting FFA and NZ Hambletonian twice), Pleasant Smile(Otahuhu Cup). Ringtrue(Travis Axworthy), was the winner of ten races(Five as a three-year-old), nine of which were at Alexandra Park and FPTC's, sire of 46 winners(Parshall) including 21 pacers in Australia having stood at Inverell(NSW) in early 1950's.
Berthabelle produced six brothers by Nelson Bingen who finished top of the sires list in 1928-29 and 1929-30, was five times placed and left 219 winners with stake earnings approaching £191,000. The one gelded son was trotter Great Nelson whose five wins were spread over 6 seasons including NZ Sires Produce - 3T at Forbury Park.
Her siring sons were led by Great Bingen, a high class pacer whose 26 wins(22 NZ, four AUS)including a NZFFA, Australian Championships(four wins, beaten by Taraire in final), Dunedin and Exhibition Cups at Forbury, Christchurch and New Brighton Hcps. He won the York Hcp(108 yards behind) at New Brighton before the Duke of York,(later to become King George VI). He was placed second twice in NZ Cups, fourth on one occasion as well as twice fourth in Auckland Cups, often from lengthy marks. During his career, Great Bingen won six Free-For-Alls. His 2:07.6 placed him among the first hundred NZ horses in 2:10 and in finishing third over two miles in 4:19.8(108 yards) at Alexandra Park, he was the first horse outside America to go under 4:20. Great Bingen was leading stake earner in 1925/6(£4,015) and his total stake winnings of £14,120 stood as a record for 17 years.
Great Bingen was the first stallion to stand stud duties for Sir John McKenzie leaving 46 winners including Taxpayer/Double Great(NZ Derby), Refund/Great News(Welligton Stakes - 3) and dual gaited Dark Hazard. His broodmare sire credits included Bintravis(WA Cup), Bonnidene(GN Derby), Powerful Lady(NZ Oaks), Tapuwae(Rowe Cup) and Crocus, grand dam of Sole Command(NZ/AK Cups, Horse of Year). Great Bingen died in May 1945 in his 26th year at Roydon Lodge.
Peter Bingen started his career as a trotter which included a second in the NZ Trotting Stakes - 3. He became a high class pacer, his 16 wins including consecutive NZ Cups and a NZFFA(three times second), National Cup and Canterbury Hcps. He was also placed second in an Auckland Cup and a division of NZ Cup. His 2:07.0 placed him among the first hundred NZ horses in 2:10.
Hid 45 winners included three time Otahuhu Cup winner Double Peter, Peter Smith (FFA/big stake winner), Peters Find (GN Derby) and damsire of NZ Derby winner Single Medoro. Worthy Bingen, recorded four wins in his three seasons of racing. The sire of 33 winners of whom 21 were trotters, he was rated the best sire of the brothers by journalist Karl Scott. He sired Worthy Queen whose T2:03.6TT(took 5.4 seconds off previous record) set in 1934 stood as a NZ Trotters mile record for 28 years and Tan John(Dominion Hcp). Great Peter had three wins as a three-year-old including GN Derby and the final running of the Champion Stakes at Addington in 1927 before its transfer to Ashburton. He won again at Auckland at both four and five before his final three victories(eight in total) came as a six-year-old during the Auckland Summer carnival. He retired after being unplaced at seventh but died shortly thereafter. Baron Bingen won seven races and was exported to the United Kingdom to stand at stud.
Berthabell died at Oinako Stud aged 23, her progeny won close to 100 races and over £35,000 in stakes, much of it during the depression years.
Credit: Peter Craig writing in Harnessed 2014