By Peter Wharton
“It’s taken a lifetime to build up these families. You definitely have to patient if you’re a breeder.”
The speaker is prominent South Australian breeder and former Harness Racing SA boss Mark Carey, the breeder of star juvenile filly Joanna, the track record-breaking winner of the $100,000 Bathurst Gold Tiara.
Her success in the time-honoured NSW classic gave Carey his first Group 1 winner in a 40 year involvement with the sport.
Joanna is the second foal of the talented Dream Away mare Repelem, who won 41 races including the Southern Cross 2YO and 3YO Finals, the Jodie’s Babe and Ian Daff Memorial and $266,346 in stakes.
“Repelem has been a terrific mare for me not only on the racetrack but in the yearling sale arena as well. I’ve put three of her progeny through the sale ring and they’ve made $70,000, $50,000 and $65,000,” Carey said.
“I put a reserve of $50,000 on Joanna and I sold her for $50,000.”
Mark said the season that he bred Repelem was a red-letter year for him.
“I bred eight horses that season and six of them raced and they won 93 races between them,” he said.
“Repelem won 41 races, Heza Showman (21), Zabreez (10), Big Henry (13), Perfect Bliss (5) and Paua Art (3).”
Other winners bred by Carey over the years include the brilliant but ill-fated Revolt (a half-brother to Joanna), the old warhorse Kingsford (30 races and $174,553), the Menangle trotting winner Kylies Life (1:55.5), Sheza Party Doll, Soul Desire, Princeford, Look At The Stars and recent Globe Derby three-year-old winner Let Me Rock.
Carey currently maintains a broodmare herd of 16 on his 80-acre property at Echunga, in the Adelaide Hills. They include the Moonee Valley and Globe Derby winner Holla ($71,666), Repelem, Sheza Party Doll and three daughters of Sandelera (a mare from the Black Watch family) in Princess Sandel (dam of Rudi Sandel – 2 wins from 3 starts to date), Sign Logic (dam of 2YO Thiswaytothebeach) and Royal Delera.
“I try to breed five or six mares every year,” he said.
Carey burns plenty of midnight oil in selecting suitable consorts for his broodmares.
“Robert A’Court helps me with the pedigree matching. He’s big on the replications of the most successful bloodlines,” Mark said.
The mares are bred and foaled down by Greg and Viv Rodda of Meadows Veterinary Centre and the resultant foals that are retained by Carey are broken in by respected Globe Derby Park horseman and long-time friend Michael Norman.
Carey belongs to a family steeped in horse racing.
“I grew up with horses. I used to go the races every Saturday as a teenager,” Mark recalled.
“My grandfather ‘Snow’ O’Connor was one of the first licensed bookmakers in SA as well as a horse breeder and my uncle Jim O’Connor conducted the famed Milluna thoroughbred stud at One Tree Hill. They also dabbled in standardbreds, breeding the 1962 SA Derby winner Fiery Miss.”
After finishing university, Mark’s first association with horse racing was in the racing department of the SA Jockey Club. He later worked in the marketing division of the SA TAB for 13 years before being appointed as CEO of Harness Racing SA.
Following a nine-year stint with HRSA, Mark then served with Greyhound Racing SA as Board Director for three years before being appointed Chairman of HRSA. During his five years as the head of Harness Racing in SA he served, firstly as treasurer and later as vice-president to Geoff Want on the Harness Racing Australia board.
Nowadays, Mark lives with his partner Joanne and their two daughters Kate, 8, and Sarah, 7, looking after their Echunga farm as well as assisting his brother Paul on their 3,000-acre cereal, cattle and sheep property at Brinkley near Murray Bridge.