Mark and Pauline O'Connor


Farm location

Auburn Road, Invercargill 8 ha

Plus 2.75 ha grazing - Moores Road.

How did you get started in breeding:

Paulines mother Myrtle McCarthy (nee Dalgety) is a long time breeder and Marks grandfather (JJ Burke) was a hobby trainer.

Name of first broodmare?

Bought Campeche (Talk About Class-Rollerball) in foal to Safely Kept in 1996.  The 2nd foal we bred from the mare turned out to be a world record holder in Fake Denario.

Is your priority to breed your horses for racing or to sell at the sales?

Targeting yearling sales plus racing fillies for broodmare retention.

What do you consider was the best horse youve bred?

Fake Denario. Won Australasian Breeders Crown and New Zealand Sires Stakes Final as a 3 year old for Robert Famularo and trainer Steven Reid before being sold to America where he recorded a world record on a 5/8 track of 1:48.4 lifetime earnings $770,000.

Best horses you have sold away from the yearling sales?

Cut And Style - (Presidential Ball - Stylish Arden) - we sold her as a 4 year old after winning 3 races for Wayne Adams in Southland. Went on to win 7 in NZ, qualified for Harness Jewels and subsequently did a good job in USA.  More recently Somnio Denario (Elsu Highview Dream), who won 2 races here in NZ before being sold into Australia, has registered a total of 10 lifetime wins.1 NZ win mare Lis Tureen (Lis Mara-Truely Jaccka) which we raced with friends is on a roll in South Australia having won a further 7 races in the space of 3 months.

Best priced yearlings sold at the sales:

Cee Cee Denario (Christian Cullen - Flow Denario) sold for $65,000 in 2008, Romeo Denario (American Ideal Presidential Sweet) sold for $55,000 in 2012, Magnifico Denario (Art Major-Averils Atom) sold for $46,000 in 2014 and Alliwantforxmas (Mach Three Ardens Queen) sold for $44,000 to clients of John Hay in 2011 

Highest priced filly bred and sold:

As above Art Major filly ex Averils Atom named Magnifico Denario sold for $46,000 in 2014.  Breeder comment extracting value from fillies via the sales is challenging!


Best-performed colt sold:

Fake Denario, also Spero Denario who won 10 races and $90K.

Best performed filly sold?

Forte Denario, a McArdle filly ex Highview Dream that won 10 races in Australia.

Is there any horse that you've brought back from the yearling sales and been thankful that you did?

Cut and Style (Presidential Ball - Stylish Arden) went on to win 7 NZ races & 9 in the USA


Favourite all time stallions?


Fake Left - understandably, closely followed by Presidential Ball.  We have patronised Somebeachsomewhere in recent seasons and believe he is an outstanding sire prospect. 


What up and coming sire are you most excited about?


Well Said is performing extremely well in the North American market and we have liked what we  have seen to date with his NZ progeny, albeit only small numbers to date.  We will also use sons of Rocknroll Hanover in Rock N Roll Heaven and A Rocknroll Dance this season.  


How important do you feel it is to breed to a stallion that will possibly leave two year olds?


Very important from a yearling sale vendors perspective.


How important do you feel research is in choosing a stallion for your mare?


Assists the process to know which crosses have worked or may work. Also useful to know who the stallion competed against on the race track.


How important is the stallion size?


Critical to match up suitable size with intending broodmares. Buyers tend to shy away from small immature looking yearlings.


Do you prefer to see the stallion choices in the flesh?


Yes, if that is achieveable.


As a professional breeder, do you buy outside mares to broaden your breeding stock?

Have done so in the past and continue to assess options. Bought into New Age Mans family via acquiring Averils Atom and Stylish Sweethearts line via Presidential Sweet.  Important to identify a mare's temperament from a reliable source.  Also to breed to replace existing broodmares.


What current New Zealand breed would you like to buy into?


The Black Watch family continues to throw high class winners.


What feeding plan do you follow when rearing your foals?


Primarily chaff and sweet feed mix with other additives as required (minerals, oil and milk powder) and hay. Hard feed during winter and then grass only during spring before going back to hard feed 12-14 weeks before sale.


If you breed primarily pacers, would you ever consider breeding trotters?


Not at this stage.


Was there a famous mare/horse that you had the opportunity to buy but didnt- and how much did it sell for?


At 1997 PGGW All Age sale bid unsuccessfully on 2 mares from same family (Tammera & Tentative) - both are good producers now tracing to family of Lizzie Maquire, Thomas Maquire & Matt Maquire.


What do you most enjoy about breeding horses?


Enjoy seeing the young horses mature and develop into potential race horses, also enjoy the buzz of seeing our own progeny perform on the race track.


What do you consider to be the most challenging aspect about breeding horses today?


Cost structure is still not providing a margin to the majority of yearling sale vendors - we also need to be attracting the next generation of race fans to get involved in the harness industry.  How we do that successfully is the big question with a lot of competing entertainment in the market place.


Breeding Stock list:

  1. Averils Atom (19 yr old mare - Soky’s Atom – Averil’s Quest) 2 wins

Best Progeny – Shezacullen 10 Aust wins & $60,0000, Averil’s Quest 9 wins & $100,000, Shezaball 8 wins & $60,000, Fizzi Lizzi 8 wins & $59,000 – foaling to American Ideal, heading to A Rocknroll Dance

  1. Shezaball (9 yr old mare – Presidential Ball – Averil’s Atom) 8 wins [Shezaball Syndi]

Best Progeny – Rockaball (by Rock N Roll Heaven) 2 wins & second from 3 starts to date, foaling to Art Major this season and being served by Somebeachsomewhere.

  1. Southern Delight (8 yr old mare – Bettors Delight – Averil’s Atom) 3 wins

Progeny – having only 2nd foal (by Rock N Roll Heaven) and going back to this sire.

  1. Mantis Denario (4 yr old mare - Somebeachsomewhere – Averil’s Atom) unraced

Progeny – Due to foal to Rocknroll Hanover and being served by Rock N Roll Heaven


  1. Goodtogo Denario (11 yr old mare – Presidential Ball – Dreamo Denario) 1 win

Progeny – Kayteeoh Denario 1.54.9 & 5 wins to date, Nota Bene Denario winner of recent Q trial – empty and to be served by Well Said this season

  1. Presidential Sweet (15 yr old mare - Presidential Mare - Stylish Sweetheart) 3 win mare 1.57.2 TT who is a full sister to Group 1 open class pacer Gomeo Romeo

Progeny - Romeo Denario 1 win, Gomeo Denario qualifier in Murray Brown’s stable, Dolce Denario showing promise for Regan Todd, Jive Denario – being developed in the Brad Mowbray stable. Due to foal to Well Said – mare available for breeding this season


Current racing list as at 01 November 2017:


  • For The Corz (Lis Mara Corzanello) 2 wins & 3 placed from 8 starts to date - 4 yr old mare who is a ½ sister to Corzin Terror being raced by Stylish Breeding Partnership

  • Dolce Denario (Mach Three Presidential Sweet) 3 yr old filly being raced with Chch syndi

  • Lorelei Lee (Net Ten EOM Truely Jaccka) 2 yr old filly broken in and turned out to mature

  • Rockaball (Art Major Shezaball) – 3 yr old gelding – 2 wins & 1 second from 3 starts to date being raced by Shezaball syndi

  • Ronnie Pickering (Art Major Shezaball) 2 yr old gelding being raced by Shezaball syndicate

  • Southern Ideal (American Ideal Averil’s Atom) 1 yr old filly being raced by 19th Hole syndicate


Heading to Christchurch Yearling Sales Feb 2018:

Trump Denario (Art Major Presidential Sweet) colt
Expresso Denario (Well Said Southern Delight) colt

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