YEAR: 2012


The absorbing battle between Carabella and Bettor Cover Lover had a softer round at Addington last Saturday. It was a predictable quinella, with Donegal Delight a clear third in the Group 1 PGG Wrightson NZ Breeders' Stakes.

Ricky May made a planned easy exit off the gate. From wider out, Donegal Delight was first into the corner, beating Flyover for speed, and took the trail once May was comfortable about moving past. As they settled on places up front, Bettor Cover Lover was settling on one at the back, and was quite a distance off the pace at the 1600m. She had help from there to make up the deficit, and was parked at the bell.

In any other company, Bettor Cover Lover would have dealt with the testing trip, but here it was Carabella again and no-one knows better than Brent Mangos that getting close is one thing and getting past another.

"She's such a strong horse and 2600m is really her pet distance," said driver Ricky May, who has now driven her in 17 of her 19 wins - Gareth Newton called upon for a juvenile win in Auckland, and Kyle Cameron in her fourth win, as a 3-year-old at Ashburton. "And Benny (Hill) said she had improved, and she had." Hill said h would be taking Carabella to Menangle for a race next month.

Ten Diamonds was fourth and unlucky not to finish closer, and the Hill-trained mare has since joined the stable of Robert Dunn.

Credit: Mike Grainger writing i HRWeekly 9Feb2012


YEAR: 2012


Round six in the epic Bettor Cover Lover - Carabella title fight went to the latter at Addington last Friday night and the score is now 4-2, but the points are still about even and the big rounds are still to come.

Carabella was at her brilliant best in the $40,000 Premier Mares Championship, but Bettor Cover Lover lost no admirers in closing to within a head in what was essentially a match race. She probably gained some in getting so close after Carabella had things all her own way. Among those admirers are the connections of Carabella, who were far from confident going in. Still bemused by how Bettor Cover Lover could pick them up at Auckland last month, and suitably impressed by a stunning trial by their arch rival on the Monday, the connections figured Carabella to be vulnerable.

"We didn't have much choice about leading tonight and we knew Bettor Cover Lover would be coming," said trainer Benny Hill. "Carabella has had this habit of knocking off when clear in the run home, and we talked about that before the race. Ricky (May) managed to get her home this time, but it was a little too close for comfort and it's quite a battle isn't it," he added. Easing up when the work seems to be done almost cost Carabella at the Jewels last year and it may well have been a factor in Auckland, such was Bettor Cover Lover's late rush, but May made sure he kept Carabella's mind on the job at Addington.

After getting a relatively easy time of it, May had Carabella stoked up down the back and with Storm Light struggling to stay in touch coming to the turn, Carabella managed to put a winning break on Bettor Cover Lover early in the run home. Carabella paced home in 56.1 with even quarters in 28.2 and 27.9. Bettor Cover Lover was spotting her a decent lead a lap out and while she got handier at the half, having to get around the game Storm Light made the difference in the end.

Hill, May and Robert Famularo know that each encounter is going to be a battle of tactics and wits, and they respect Bettor Cover Lover as much as anyone. But they have another card to play when needed. "What we do in the future will be dictated by the barrier draws, but I can't wait for the day when we have to drive Carabella from behind. When that happens, we've seen what she can do in the Oaks. She's a better horse when chasing, than being chased."

Carabella is being very carefully managed as a 4-year-old and is in for a very light season. She may even be kept for just racing against mares through next season as well. Her connections are just worried about next week's race for the moment, but a trip to Sydney for the $200,000 Ladyship Mile at Menangle on March 3 is definitely on the programme. Carabella will then come home and be set for the Jewels at Cambridge, although Famularo is not overjoyed about that prospect. "Everybody is on a hiding to nothing there," said Famularo. "You can head there and draw barrier one and it is race over. Or you can draw six and your race is over," he added.

There's a couple of good races for Carabella at Melton in May, although the $100,000 Queen Of The Pacific is only a week out from the Jewels, and Hill might prefer a lead up race to Cambridge in Auckland when the time comes. Whatever is decided, Carabella will have no more than 7-8 races this season, and Famularo for one will be quite happy to follow the same sort of programme next year as well. "If you pick you spots, you can still win some serious money, without taking on the big boys," he said. "$200,000 Australian is serious money for instance. Most of the present top open class horses are getting a bit long in the tooth now and won't be around in a year or two, although there seems to be plenty of depth coming through. We'll just have to assess things at the time, but we won't be rushing into the (NZ) Cup or the Grand Circuit just because she turns five. There is plenty of time for that carry on."

In the meantime, the fans have another mouth watering clash with Bettor Cover Lover in the NZ Breeder's Stakes to look forward to next week, followed by the Ladyship, where De Lovely could also be a factor. With so much doom and gloom surrounding the industry at present, at least the horses are providing something to look forward to.

Credit: Frank Marrion writing in HRWeekly 25 Jan 2012


YEAR: 2012


Doug Mangos, who drove major winners in the 1960s and 70s, died in Christchurch on Friday (6 Jan)at the age of 76.

Constantine Ronald Douglas Mangos (licenced as D R Mangos) was employed at Roydon Lodge, Yaldhurst for some 35 years. The establishment was operated by Sir John and later Sir Roy McKenzie with George Noble the trainer during the time Mangos was there.

Mangos was licenced to drive at trials in 1954 and he was granted a probationary drivers licence two years later. He was an open horseman from the 1957-58 season when he drove Highland Air to win the Winter Handicap at Forbury Park. He drove La Mignon to win the main race, the C F Mark Memorial Handicap and the Farewell Handicap on the second night of the Auckland winter meeting in 1958.

La Mignon became the dam of Roydon Roux, whom Mangos drove in her seven wins, including the NZ Golden Slipper Stakes at Waimate, Princess Stakes in Auckland and the NZ Futurity Stakes at Rotorua, at two. She won the 1971 Great Northern Derby and the Wraith Memorial in Sydney the following season. She had to be destroyed after she shattered a pastern in Melbourne in March of her 3-year-old season.

Mangos drove Scottish Laddie to win the 1963 Great Northern Derby. Scottish Laddie was trained at Trentham by Jack Hunter for Roy McKenzie. Mangos drove General Frost to win the inaugural NZ Juvenile Championship in Auckland in 1968. The Noble-trained General Frost also won the Golden Slipper Stakes and the NZ Futurity Stakes at Rotorua with Mangos in the sulky. Mangos drove Vista Abbey to win a heat of the Inter-Dominion in Auckland in 1968.

Mangos was granted a professional training licence in 1969 to prepare the Roydon Lodge horses in the absence of Noble. He drove Jay Ar in three wins in top company, the season after the gelding had dead-heated for first with Robin Dundee in the Inter-Dominion Final at Forbury Park in 1965 with Noble in the sulky.

Brent Mangos, a son of Doug, is the Pukekohe trainer of Bettor Cover Lover, who made a notable retun to racing to win the Group 1 Queen Of Hearts at Alexandra Park on December 16 after a life-threatening injury to a foot eight months earlier.

Doug Mangos had his last driving win with Initial Thought at Addington in July, 2004. He trained Talaspring to win at a Franklin meeting in March, 2010.

Credit: HRWeekly 11Jan2012


YEAR: 2013


Super mare Bettor Cover Lover had little more than a training run to win last Friday night's $40,000 Gr2 Premier Mares Championship at Addington. From barrier three, outside of a trademark lead-trail early spurt from Dexter Dunn with Donegal Delight, Brent Mangos was able to dictate a slow tempo and sprint home to comfortably hold the trailer with the rest in a race for third. Pemberton Shard came out of the one-one to win that race when they were all flat making any ground at all in the run home.

With the final sectionals flying by in 56.2 and 27.4, Bettor Cover Lover only had to record a 1:59.1 mile rate, when she is quite capable of breaking 1:55. "That was ideal after not having had a run for over a month," said Mangos. "We didn't have to go too hard and that should improve her nicely and have her spot on for the Breeders Stakes," he added.

The race was effectively over, if it wasn't already when the draws came out, when Dunn's early initiative meant Mangos could put Pembrook's Delight three back. "I could have held the lead at the start, but when Dexter came out, I let him go knowing the other mare would then be three fence." This was Bettor Cover Lover's fourth win in four races this season and her 17th in 27 lifetime starts for stakes worth $864,000. The big, strong Bettor's Delight 5-year-old has won five Group 1 races along with two Listed Sales races.

Bettor Cover Lover is staying with David and Catherine Butt at the Woodend Beach, but "She doesn't need to be at the beach. She trains on the track, but it's good to have the beach there if we need a freshen up." But Bettor Cover Lover is quite clearly right at the top of her game at the moment. "There were times last year when I thought 'we're a bit better than this, although she never went a bad race'. When she came back from the injury, she had some hard races against Carabella and a couple of trips to Oz and I think she was looking for a spell towards the end. She had seven weeks out and she seems better and stronger this time in."

Credit: Frank Marrion writing in HRWeekly 23Jan2013


YEAR: 2013


There is no stopping Bettor Cover Lover. Good opposition, bad draws, short trips, long ones; there's no hurdle. She truly is a great mare.

She beat Tatijana Bromac and Elusive Chick in the Group 1 PGG Wrightson NZ Breeders Stakes at Addington last Friday night with a typically rugged effort and a drive by Brent Mangos that coupled conservatism with confidence.

He pushed through early from the second line to settle in midfield on the outer. The position got better, and while Mangos could have stayed where he was for a bit longer, and took the risk out of the equation at the 1000m, and went forward. Elusive Chick gave him the front, and soon Mangos was opening up. The big mare kept running at a steady but hard pace, gradually extending her lead as Mangos drove her out. The race was over and the result was clear except for the margin at the 200m, Tatijana Bromac running strongly out of the pack to take second from Elusive Chick.

Bettor Cover Lover is unbeaten in five starts this season, and her earnings from 28 starts and 18 wins are $914,406. She was bred by Denis Bennett and Linda Joyce, and raced by Karnup Racing Ltd of Perth. Bettor Cover Lover will now have a quiet week before Mangos heads to Menangle for the Ladyship Mile in March.

He is philosophical the golden run won't last for ever. "She's as good now as you could get her, but I know she's not going to win every week." And while that's just what she's doing now, Mangos still reflects with awe on her recovery from an awful foot injury during a trip to Australia when she was three. "Saving her life, and going from there to a broodmare to a racecourse again...that took a long time and a lot of good management. For a start it was touch and go. If an infection had set in that was the end of it. Now she's virtually grown a new foot and she's never been lame on it," he said.

Along with co-trainer Hayden Cullen, Mangos has a strong team, but none of them will ever have a tale of survival and success like 'Betty'.

Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HRWeekly 6Feb13

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