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Bethrah after winning the Irish 1000 Guineas Curragh 23.05.2010

Bethrah: €160,000 buy  hails from the 15th crop of veteran sire Marju

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

Bethrah: Marju filly can continue to thrive

3yo br f Marju - ReveD'Iman (Highest Honor)

DERMOT WELD has never made any secret of his liking for Bethrah, whom he sent out for an ambitious debut in the Goffs Million Sprint last September.

As it turned out, the filly’s nervousness prevented her from showing her true colours that day, but we can all recognise the quality her trainer discerned now.

That first Curragh occasion was all too much for Bethrah, who played up at the start, derived no comfort from the application of the blanket, and had to be coaxed into her stall while Pat Smullen watched from terra firma.

Her behaviour was far from encouraging and it was hardly surprising when she started slowly and showed obvious signs of greenness, but once she had got the hang of things her performance allowed a fair measure of optimism about her future.

Although she never threatened to take a hand in the finish, she ran on willingly and her eventual tenth place in a field of 20 was highly creditable; she finished little more than six lengths off the winner and might have been closer still but for traffic congestion in the last furlong.

It was apparent that if Bethrah was to realise her potential, she had to be cured of her mental problems, and during the close season the team at Rosewell House busily, but patiently, coached her to overcome her aversion to stalls. The rewards for those endeavours have come this spring, with a Classic triumph as icing on the cake.

She resumed in mid-April in an uncompetitive fillies' maiden at Limerick, starting at long odds-on and winning readily by more than three lengths. It was a hollow victorythat did not signify much, and it was clear that she would need to display significantly improved form to stand a chance four weeks later in the Group 3 Irish 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown.

Bethrah did show markedly improved form there, relishing the longer (1m) trip and scoring by a neck, while hinting that she had rather more in hand. Her shrewd trainer promptly declared her a candidate for the first Irish fillies' Classic, and expressed the belief that she would run very well.

Weld's judgement was fully vindicated in teh Irish 1,000 Guineas, when Bethrah was restrained in mid-division, progressed smoothly to take closer order, and quickened well when switched to the rail to deliver her challenge.

In the thrilling dash to the line, she got up close home to thwart the supplemented Godolphin filly Anna Salai, with the English-trained favourite Music Show finishing well for third. Little more than half a lengthseparated first from fifth, suggesting that this was a Classic of less than vintage quality, but Bethrah won on merit and gave the impression that she might well improve again, especially over a longer trip.

Bethrah is the first Classic winner saddled by Dermot Weld for his long-term patron Hamdan Al Maktoum, who bought her at Goffs for €160,000. She comes from the 15th crop of her veteran sire Marju, himself a Hamdan yearling purchase at Goffs, for Ir440,000gns back in 1989.

Marju was a top-class and versatile performer, but mishaps and physical problems meant that he was unable to display consistency of a comparable order. John Dunlop had him ready to run in June as a two-year-old, when a leg injury scotched that plan, and after his delayed impressive debut in a minor event at York, the colt picked up a viral infection that kept him out of action for the rest of the season.

Marju's absence from the racecourse seemed to make the punters' hearts grow fonder of him; his name was regularly mentioned in connection with the 2,000 Guineas throughout the winter, and after he returned with a win in the Craven Stakes he was rapidly installed as favourite for the Classic.

On the big day he started at 6-4, but the venture was doomed to failure. He came back lame from a stifle injury, probably incurred soon after the stalls opened.

After that a bid for the Derby seemed like wishful thinking, the more so because he was a son of sprinter-miler Last Tycoon, but he achieved a meritorious second place at Epsom, albeit a respectful distance behind Generous. Then, switched back to a mile, he claimed Group 1 honours in the St James’s Palace Stakes at RoyalAscot.

Marju's career seemed to be back on a steep upward curve, with attractive options available to him over a variety of distances, but in fact we had already seen the best of him. The stifle problem resurfaced in the Eclipse and when he eventually returned for the Champion Stakes he was a colt in distress, having completely lost his action.

After an inconsistent racing career, Marju was to compile a similar record as a sire. His capacity to get high-class performers has never been in doubt since Group 1 scorers My Emma and Sil Sila emerged from his first crop, but he has not delivered stars on a regular basis.

Breeders, notoriously fickle at the best of times, have been both supportive and neglectful over the years, and in the marketplace he has suffered for having acquired the reputation of a sire of fillies.

There is no logical reason why any stallion should be more successful with his products of one sex than with those of the other, but there are cases which encourage that belief, and Marju has been one of them.

The record shows that he has 20 individual European Pattern winners, split evenly between the sexes, but of the colts only two have won ashigh as Group 2 level. All ten of the Group 1 victories have accrued from the deeds of his daughters, Bethrah being the fifth to register after the aforementioned My Emma and Sil Sila, Marbye, and his standout star Soviet Song.

Marju's best winner in the southern hemisphere, Marju Snip, is also a filly, successful in the Group 1 South Australasian Oaks, yet worldwide he has no more celebrated representative than the gelding who left England as the Listed-calibre Comic Strip to become a Group 1 star as Viva Pataca in Hong Kong, where he recently won the Queen Elizabeth II Cup for a second time.

Bethrah’s female family was not one that thrived regularly in top-level competition until recently, when Reve D'Oscar, a full sister to the filly's dam Reve D'Iman, won the 2000 Prix Saint-Alary and took second place in three other Group 1 events, the Prix Vermeille, the Prix de l'Opera and the Gran Premio del Jockey Club.

Bethrah's win suggests that its reputation will remain on the rise.


Sire: Marju

Bred by Kilcarn Stud. Ir440,000gns Goffs yearling. Won 3
(7-8f) of 7 races, viz. 1 (graduation race, York) out of 1 at 2 years, 2 (Craven Stakes-Gr3, St James’s Palace Stakes-Gr1) out of 6 at 3 years. Also 2nd in the Derby (to Generous). RPR: 110 at 2, 126 at 3. Earned £282,640.

Had an abbreviated first season owing to a slight setback.
In-and-out at 3 because of a persistent stifleproblem, and eventually lost his action completely. Good-bodied, lengthy, short-legged, showing quality.

Among the best sons of his sire (also got Ezzoud, Bigstone, Taipan and Mahogany). Half-brother to 10 other winners, inc. Salsabil, Danse Royale, Song of Tara and Flame of Athens. Out of a top-class 8f-1m4f runner, from an extremely successful family.

Stands at Derrinstown Stud, Co. Kildare, at a fee of €20,000. Sire of 16 crops of racing age, inc. notable winners: My Emma (Prix Vermeille-Gr1, Yorkshire Oaks-Gr1), Sil Sila (Prix de Diane-Gr1), Della Scala (Gr3), Mahboob (Gr3), Oriental Fashion (Gr2), Miletrian (Gr2), Naheef (Gr3), Marbye (Prix d’Astarte-Gr1), Soviet Song (Fillies’ Mile (Gr1), Falmouth S.-Gr1 [twice], Sussex S.-Gr1, Matron S.-Gr1), Stormont (Gr2), Brunel (Gr2), Red Feather (Gr2), Bobs Pride (Gr3), Chinchon (Gr3), Enroller (Gr3), Love Intrigue (Gr3), Marjalina (Gr3), Remarque (Gr3), Watar (Gr2), Bethrah (Irish 1,000 Guineas-Gr1). Also sire of major winners in Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.

Dam: Reve D'Iman

Bred by Harasde Manneville in France. E180,000 Agence Francaise Deauville August yearling. Won 1 of 13 races, viz.
0 out of 3 starts at 2, 1 (1m 1f) out of 10 starts at 3. Also placed 5 times. RPR: 74 at 3. Earned €28,400.

Just a modest performer, but well bred. By a leading sire and full sister to Gr1 winner Reve D’Oscar, Gr2 winner Numide and Listed winner Sir Eric. Dam Listed winner, bred 7 winners .
Granddam won twice, bred 4 winners, half-sister to 5 other winners, inc. Gr3-placed Young Hostess, herself dam of Gr and Gr3 winner Fabulous Hostess, granddam of Listed winners, and third dam of 2010 Gr3 winner Blek.

To stud at 4 years and dam of: Alrescha (2006 f by Marju; unplaced), Bethrah (2007 f by Marju; Classic winner), unnamed (2008 c by Tiger Hill; unraced to date). She was covered by Nayef in 2009.


Product of a sire of top-class fillies, she is bredto get further. Tough, talented filly on the upgrade. Seems sure to stay 1m2f and capable of capturing more Group 1s over that distance.




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