O’Cartier the Jewel of the South

If you can imagine the excitement and enthusiasm you would witness if you gave a woman a piece of Cartier jewellery. Well then, that just about sums up how Bev Jones feels about her wonderful racehorse O'Cartier.

In fact O'Cartier (My Halo- Carinda) is probably more precious to Bev than any Cartier piece as she bred and raised him as well.

"Isn't he wonderful - we are so lucky to have him. You don't get a horse like him every day, he is the loveliest horse I have ever had and there has been a few," according to a very ebullient Bev.

"He was always special. He has a great temperament and he was lovely to handle as a youngster. He is kind and gentle and makes a great baby sitter, but when you leg that jockey on, he knows its game on."

O'Cartier scored his 13th win recently when he won the 1400 metre Higgins Challenge Stakes Gr 3 recently and his third black type win, all under the guidance of Karen and John Parsons. He had previously won the Stewards Handicap Gr 3 and the Listed Lightning Stakes at Wellington, a race he has also been placed in.

"It was my biggest thrill when he won the Higgins, especially when he led all the way. It was a beautiful ride by Chris Johnson. His performance was a credit to John and Karen Parsons and they way they have placed him.

"Stan and I were watching the race at home, and he nearly raised the roof with his cheering. The phone hasn't stopped ringing since with all our friends calling to congratulate us. I think he carried the whole of the South up that straight at Manawatu. He is after all a pure bred South Islander and a wonderful advertisement for the breeding and racing industry down here."

Home to Bev and her husband Stan is a large sheep and cattle farm Goodwood, between Lumsden and Mossburn in the heart of Southland. Here she raises her horses, an interest she has developed with a passion for over thirty years.

As well as Carinda (The Jogger – Love Note), the dam of O'Cartier, she has a number of his extended family as she never sells anything and races them all, then breeds from the fillies.

"About thirty five years ago, Stan came home from a stock sale with a filly for me. He knew I loved horses, and my children were all grown up and off the farm, and he thought that it would be a good interest for me.

"Her name was Annamation (Lomond- Annamar). However she was the least animated animal you would ever see, she was a twin and didn't amount to much so she went by the wayside.

"I had a lot of help from Bert Lawton, who stood Bellborough at stud down here, and he encouraged me to buy another mare, Super Bell (Bellborough) in foal to Postillion. That foal was Carillion and he won 10 races and she also left Voltaire who was a pretty useful jumper. Unfortunately Super Bell died before I bred a filly out of her.

"I was a fan of Grey Gull so I approached Mrs Watkinson and asked her if I could breed a foal out of her Grey Gull mare Game Bella – a daughter of the stakes winning mare Belloware (Bellborough- Game Girl). I sent her to Fan Letter (Secretariat-Admiring) because I liked his pedigree, and luckily the result was Love Note, the grand dam of O'Cartier."

Love Note became Bev's "tap root" mare. She didn't race but went on to produce Audacious (Waikiki Star) who won 10 races, and three other winners including Paul Revere (Courier Flight) who was actually bred and raced by her husband Stan.

A mating to O'Reilly has produced Dear John, a member of the Parsons stable with three wins to his credit. Also in that stable and about to resume racing over Christmas is The Bellarosa, a four year old mare by Volksraad. Love Note died foaling a Keeper filly in 2006 and that filly will also be raced by Bev.

O'Cartier was Carinda's first foal, then Bev lent the mare to Edwina Morris for a year and she bred her to Al Jadeed. As Workingclassman he races in the North Island. Her next foal is Santos, a two-year old by No Excuse Needed, and she also has a yearling full brother to O'Cartier. This year she produced a Pins filly and is back in foal to No Excuse Needed.

She is also breeding from Éclair Rouge (Volksraad-Love Note) who this spring produced a filly to Handsome Ransom and is in foal to My Halo The resultant foal will be a three-quarter relation to O'Cartier.

Bev doesn't have any great breeding philosophy. She knows what she likes for her mares and she maintains it's pretty instinctive.

"I don't get too wound up about theories - somehow when you look at a mating you know whether it's good or not. I love this game. It is such great fun. It is the most absorbing of interests, and it is truly fascinating. There is so much to it, the management of all your interests in the breeding, and rearing of the stock, through to the racing - it is a great, great hobby," she concluded with the enthusiasm that can only come from a person who is truly passionate about her horses.

- Michelle Saba


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