Peter Mitchell, famous as the owner of champion galloper Bonecrusher, died suddenly overnight.
The 73-year-old Aucklander was a regular sight at northern race meetings, and loved nothing more than a bet.
“This is the biggest shock I’ve had in my life,” said current racehorse owning partner, Auckland lawyer Grand Halse, currently holidaying in Vietnam.
Bonecrusher made Peter Mitchell and trainer Frank Ritchie close to household names during the 1980s.
Mitchell purchased Bonecrusher at the Waikato yearling sales for a budget $3250 and the lanky, athletic chestnut won 18 races from 44 raceday appearances for $674,225 here and A$1.67m in Australia. He won four Gr1s in New Zealand and six in Australia. The Bonecrusher – (Our) Waverley Star stirring battle in the 1986 Cox Plate, was won by Bonecrusher and it gave him legendary status in Australia. The same year he would have won the then world’s richest race, the Japan Cup, but came down with a massive infection and did not race.
He raced before the massive explosion of stakemoney. If he won the same races today it would be more than $10m.
Bonecrusher was euthanised in June 2015 after contracting the terrible foot problem laminitis, which also claimed Sunline. He was buried at Ellerslie where the Mitchell family sponsor the Bonecrusher Stakes in his memory.
Mitchell had a powerful personality and Frank Ritchie’s son Shaune, who trained most of the Mitchell horses, including the talented Mitchell/Halse owned Excalibur in recent years, said he will be long remembered.
“Peter was so strong minded, he could be awkward if you disagreed with his ideas, but he had enormous loyalty. I know for a fact he had any number of offers from trainers to transfer Bonecrusher to them, but he never did. He was very loyal to our family.”