IF you ask Peter Trevor-Jones about the remarkable career of Beetson the trainer could talk for an age, but if he had to sum it up in one word 'irreplaceable' is it.
The emotion in the voice of Trevor-Jones is clear to hear whenever he talks about his beloved 'Artie', a star gelding which has delivered him a host of harness racing highlights.
Arguably the biggest of then came 10 years ago when Beetson won the Gold Crown Final at the old Bathurst Showground Paceway.
While Beetson is now a 204-start veteran, when he lined up for that $100,000 two-year-old colts and geldings Group 1 Final it was just his fourth race.
It's a race the Bathurst trainer will never get sick of watching as John O'Shea steered the $20 chance to a 5.5 metre victory.
"I can't believe how many times over the years I've watched that replay, I've had visitors here and I've dug it out," Trevor-Jones said.
"You watch that drive over and over, it was an unbelievable drive by JT [O'Shea]. He made so many split-second correct decisions.
"An 800 metres track and with 400 metres to go we are stone-motherless last.
"I was watching his green wheels as he was going through. I think fifth was worth three or four grand and I thought to myself 'He's passing a few, we might run fifth here'. But he ended up winning it by two lengths bolting away.
"We just went crazy, screaming and yelling and carrying on."
That win on the biggest night of the Bathurst Harness Racing Club's annual calendar thrust Beetson into the limelight.
And while many Gold Crown victors over the years have gone on to more success, Trevor-Jones never could have predicted what would follow with the Art Major x Erin Jean gelding.
Along with his Group 1 Gold Crown triumph in 2010, Beetson won the Group 2 Carousel and Group 3 Canola Cup.
In July, 2018, after 177 starts, Beetson retired due to a soft tissue injury in his leg.
But that's not where Beetson's story ended.
In March, 2019, Beeston came out of retirement and won first up at Wagga.
Two starts later he won the Group 3 Wagga Pacers Cup. With Cameron Hart in the gig, 11-year-old Beetson prevailed as a $41 chance in a record 1:52.9 mile rate.
"I teared up when he won there, I was so emotional," Trevor-Jones said.
"I was over the moon, I'd always wanted to get him to the 40 wins. He actually broke the track record as well."
Though Beetson has won just once since then - fittingly saluting in his 200th career start which came at the Bathurst Paceway - he is still impressing Trevor-Jones.
He is displaying the sort of qualities which highlight why he sees Beetson as "irreplaceable."
"A couple of starts ago I took him to Menangle and he ran the fastest mile rate of his life, he ran third and he ran 1:50.5 and he's 12-year-old," Trevor-Jones said.
"It just blew me away. Like the first half they went 54 seconds and he was up vying for the lead and he hadn't had a run for three weeks or a trial, so I thought it was going to end in tears.
"But on the line, he's ready to run another lap. The lead time, it was 25.8, I mean that's Miracle Mile stuff.
"I've seen that and I've gone 'He's still got it', I just haven't been able to find races for him.
"Because he's an out and out stayer you need long races for him and most of harness racing now seems to be mile races.
"He's like one of those marathon runners you see at the Olympics and you've got to race him light - lean and mean. If you have any weight on him he looks fat.
"When he won the Wagga Cup, when he came back from his retirement, it was just helter-skelter flat out from start to finish for the entire way over the 2,300 metres and he just loves that.
"The carousel which he won, that's another big race, that was just flat out for 2,400 metres.
"He's a long distance athlete and reflecting on his career, had more racing been over a mile and a half instead of a mile, I'm sure he would have won a lot more races."
While it remains to been seen how many more starts Beetson will have before he retires for good, he will always hold a special place in Trevor-Jones' heart.
"I'm happy with his career, it's the biggest thrill of my harness racing career," the trainer said.
"When you breed them and you have them from day one, they are part of your family. Winning with a horse like that, it is so much more special than going to New Zealand and buying a horse for a hundred grand and winning with it.
"From day one, he was at my friend's place, I used to go up there and see him and he'd have his big boof head hanging over the fence.
"A horse like Beetson, breaking down then obviously coming back from retirement and wining at that level as an 11-year-old is pretty unique.
"He does have human tendencies, he's got character, he's got personality in bucket loads. It's a crack up watching his body language.
"He throws his head around, you swear he's going to throw it off his shoulders, and he runs and spins around 360.
"We've got this routine, he's in his yard, but then there's an electric-spring gate that leads him out into a big, juicy paddock. That's his treat after he races or on special occasions - I can't have him in there all the time or he'd get too fat.
"So I'd been out on the track and then thought I'd go and put Artie into that paddock so he could walk around and have a bit of a treat for the day.
"We'll I've come back from the paddock and here he is standing at the gate with his head looking down at the paddock. I just thought 'You're unbelievable'. He must've read my mind that I was going to let him out.
"He's a special critter ... I just love having him around, he's just part of me."
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