Mine Behind was Newbury Diamond for Manser-Baines

By Sports Desk July 27, 2023

The famous ladies’ amateur race on King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes day may now be a thing of the past, but success in the contest will always being among the most prized memories of Kylie Manser-Baines.

The event, which was run over seven furlongs, always came with the promise of a prize worth having – formerly a diamond necklace when De Beers were the sponsor and latterly a Longines watch.

Ascot has always been the venue of the race, with the exception of the 2005 renewal when the track was being redeveloped and Newbury stepped forward to host the fixture.

It was this stroke of luck, and the difference in the gradient between the two tracks, that gave Manser-Baines the best day of her amateur career.

Riding for John Best at the time, Manser-Baines was assured her mount, Mine Behind, would not stay the distance but the switch to Newbury’s flat track made all the difference when the horse, historically a sprinter, stepped up in trip.

Manser-Baines said: “I was really lucky that both my second and third rides were winners, so I thought ‘this is easy, I’m going to ride in this big diamond race’, but you had to have 10 rides.

“The first year I couldn’t ride in it, but the second year I said to my boss, John Best, that I was going to ride in it but he said we didn’t have a suitable horse.

“It’s a really hard for an owner to put you up as an amateur, I wasn’t very good but I was very, very competitive and I still am!

“I said I was going to ring the owner of Mine Behind because I knew the horse and looked after him at home. I said he was the only horse that could run in the race even though it wasn’t his trip. They said ‘oh he’s been running rubbish anyway, just enter him!’.

“It was the year that Ascot was being done up, so it was held at Newbury – if it was held at Ascot he definitely wouldn’t have got the trip. It’s seven furlongs and everyone thinks the track is flat at Ascot but it’s a bit of a stiff finish, I was lucky that it was at Newbury which is an easy, flat, galloping track.

“He was such an easy horse, you could canter down to post on the buckle end. My boss didn’t come that day, he was at another meeting, so my friend drove the box and the owner was there.

“My boss said to me ‘just keep hold of him or he won’t get home, it’s too long for him’ and I jumped out of the stalls, he never pulled, he was the best ride ever, but he was wanting to get to the front and I thought if I kept tucking him away he was going to get the hump.

“So I kicked on from miles out, it was very untidy, very scruffy. Luckily he held on, but the boss said ‘you kicked too soon’. The owners were over the moon, it was my first time riding in it and I got really lucky, everything fell my way.”

Manser-Baines graduated from amateur to apprentice, selling the necklace to fund the car she used to travel the country during her riding career.

She said: “The necklace was beautiful, but I have to admit I did sell it to buy a car. I kept the car for years and years and it got me around the country when I was riding. It was a beautiful necklace, but I couldn’t wear it every day as I didn’t dare and I really needed a car!

“I stopped riding in 2012, I was never the best jockey and my ability and my weight definitely held me back. It was great fun and I miss it a lot. I have two very good jobs now but nothing compares to it really.”

The two jobs in question are vastly different as Manser-Baines retains her racing connection by retraining and rehoming racehorses but is also a full-time firefighter.

She found the retraining work came to her effortlessly after her riding career ended and she gained a reputation as being a skilled horsewoman that would ensure the horses in her care were responsibly rehomed, whereas the firefighting followed when she decided to balance her time on the yard with another profession.

“People think that we don’t care about them after racing, which is absolute rubbish. We have the horses at home and it is lovely, it’s all I’ve ever wanted but it is hard work,” she said.

“Twelve years ago it was really hard to rehome an ex-racehorse, no one wanted them and the amount of people doing what I do was in the single figures. Even the worst rider in racing can still really ride, whereas outside of racing people often can’t handle them and as they were the cheapest horses you could get, they could end up in unsuitable homes.

“Now there are a lot of people doing what I’m doing, which is a good thing, there’s lots of people that want thoroughbreds and lots of people to retrain them. Trainers aren’t giving them away and they shouldn’t because they have got a value.

“I really care about where they end up so I’m probably the worst retrainer in a way! The best from a trainer’s point of view but the worst from a business point of view because I care so much about where they go.

“I’ve still got all my racing contacts and I get a nice, steady trickle of horses, and each year I also have a broodmare and try to breed a decent racehorse.

“I’ve got a mare called Bungledupinblue, by Bungle Inthejungle, who has been covered by Sergei Prokofiev. He was a Coolmore horse who will have his first runners next year.

“This year I was watching how all the Bungle Inthejungles were doing, next year I’ll be watching how all the Sergei Prokofievs are getting on.

“It’s nice to have an interest, I’ve got a lot of friends in racing still and it’s lovely to follow the racing and have a connection with it.”

Related items

  • Supreme Ventures Racing urges review of racing rule after Caymanas Park abandonments Supreme Ventures Racing urges review of racing rule after Caymanas Park abandonments

    Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), operators of Caymanas Park, have called for a review of Rule 44 (iii) enforced by the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) following the cancellation of two races during the April 27 race meet at Caymanas Park.

    In a press conference on Monday addressing the abandoned races, SVREL Executive Chairman Solomon Sharpe expressed frustration with the rule, highlighting its potential impact on the racing industry.

    "This rule, unique to Jamaica, imposes a strict five-minute limit after the published post time for races at Caymanas Park," Sharpe stated. "It fails to account for various factors that can delay race starts and penalizes all stakeholders when races are abandoned, affecting punters, jockeys, grooms, trainers, owners, promoters, and the government."

    Last year, Caymanas Park contributed over $260 million in combined taxes to the government's coffers. Sharpe urged the JRC to engage SVREL in discussions on Rule 44, emphasizing the need for constructive dialogue to address the rule's impact.

    "We were not consulted during the initial discussions on this rule, and now, with two races abandoned in a single race day, our concerns have materialized," Sharpe explained. "SVREL is open to collaborating with the JRC to review and refine this amended rule."

    Representatives from the Grooms Association, Jockeys Association, and the United Racehorse Trainers Association echoed SVREL's concerns and supported the call for a review of Rule 44.

    Sharpe concluded by appealing to regulators, stakeholders, and the public to support the growth of the horseracing industry in Jamaica. "Horseracing has immense potential in Jamaica and can become a significant foreign exchange earner. Realizing this potential requires collaboration among all stakeholders."

    SVREL has been operating Caymanas Park since March 2017 after the government divested the property. With investments exceeding J$4 billion in product enhancements and innovations like the Mouttet Mile, which boasts the largest purse in the English-speaking Caribbean, SVREL remains committed to advancing the horseracing experience in Jamaica.

  • Supreme Ventures Racing regrets abandonment of two races at Caymanas Park on Saturday Supreme Ventures Racing regrets abandonment of two races at Caymanas Park on Saturday

    Supreme Ventures Racing & Entertainment Limited (SVREL) has expressed regret and disappointment following the abandonment of two races during the Saturday, April 27 race day at Caymanas Park in St Catherine, Jamaica.

    The decision to abandon these races, SVREL said, was made in compliance with regulations set forth by the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), leading to the refund of all related pools according to SVREL's Pari-mutuel rules.

    According to the statement released by SVREL late Saturday, the abandonment of races number one and six, respectively, was declared by the stewards of the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) due to delays that exceeded the permitted time frame as stipulated by Rule 44(iii).

    Specifically, in race number one, scheduled to commence at 12:00 pm, a saddling issue with horse number five and a mandatory veterinary check for horse number eight, which reared and fell after exiting the saddling barn, resulted in delays beyond the allowable limit.

    Similarly, race number six, slated for 3:10 pm, was delayed due to a horse running loose, ultimately leading to its abandonment by the stewards of the JRC.

    SVREL explained that the recent amendments to Rule 44(iii), which came into effect from April 1, 2024, mandate strict adherence to race start times with a maximum allowance of five minutes after the published post time. SVREL noted that Jamaica is unique in enforcing such a rule without prior consultation with the sole promoter of horseracing in Jamaica.

    The enforcement of this rule has led to financial losses for industry stakeholders, including owners, trainers, jockeys, grooms, punters, and the promoter and as such the disruption caused by the abandonment of these races understandably resulted in unrest among stakeholder groups.

    Despite the challenges faced, the race meet resumed with race number seven at approximately 4:00 pm, SVREL noted.

    SVREL has now issued a sincere apology to valued customers and stakeholders for the inconvenience caused by the abandonment of races one and six by the JRC. SVREL also emphasized its readiness for open dialogue with the JRC and all impacted stakeholders to ensure the continued success and integrity of the horseracing industry.

    As the sole promoter of horseracing in Jamaica, SVREL said it remains committed to addressing challenges collaboratively and upholding the highest standards of professionalism and service within the industry.


  • Light seeking to shine again at Sandown Light seeking to shine again at Sandown

    Kitty’s Light is taking aim at his usual season finisher in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.

    The gelding has been a star for trainer Christian Williams, winning big handicap events like the Eider Chase and the Scottish Grand National and going close in the Charlie Hall and the Coral Trophy.

    He has particularly good record in the bet365 Gold Cup on the final day of the season, missing out only due to interference when second in 2021 and coming home third in 2022.

    Last year he was completed the set of podium finishes when winning by two and a half lengths under usual jockey Jack Tudor.

    The two are well acquainted and teamed up for Kitty’s Light’s Grand National bid at Aintree earlier in the month, where he ran a valiant race to finish fifth behind four Grade-One winning Irish chasers.

    Williams was incredibly proud of his stable star and is now hoping the gelding can shine again in the Sandown contest he has found to be lucrative in the past.

    “It was wonderful, we trained him to win the race and we thought he could, but you couldn’t be disappointed with what he did,” Williams said of the National performance.

    “We were thrilled, the horse tried his best and we were very, very proud of horse and jockey.

    “He’s come out of it very well, if the race was run today even then he’d be running, he’s in good form.

    “He loves it at Sandown with the big fences, his jumping has come on now but even as a five-year-old he nearly won the race.

    “He was third the year after that, it really seems to suit him.

    “I think he likes going right-handed, he hangs a little bit right at home and he seems to really enjoy it there.

    “We’re taking our chance anyway, he seems well and we’ll hope for the best.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.