Rodney and Kristen Mercieca of Carmer Standardbreds have about 70 years of harness racing experience between them and know what it takes to produce a quality yearling.

The pair grew up in the sport. Rodney’s father and uncle ran Shara Stud in Lower Belford and Kristen is the daughter of respected Maitland horseman Huey Carmody.

They will offer five youngsters at the APG Sydney Yearling Sale on February 25 – three of their own and two for Betty Adams, the widow of long-time steward Keith Adams.

“It is a family thing. We have 60 acres on the Hunter River and we do it all ourselves,” Rodney Mercieca said. “Our horses are foaled and raised here. We grow our own feed and only buy in a bit of grain. I have been doing it for 40 years and Kristen, probably 30 years.

“Now our kids Darcy (16) and Georgia (14) are involved. They help prepare the youngsters. We produce bread and butter horses. You hope to breed that champion one day but we focus on quality youngsters that will pay their way and people can have fun with.”

Good race mare Tarelle (1.53.5, $120K) is a Carmer Standardbreds graduate. Tarelle was an outstanding two and three-year-old. She won a heat and was runner-up in a semi final of the 2012 APG 2YO fillies classic. She also won a heat of the Alabar Breeders Challenge and finished fourth in the $125,000 Group 1 final. As a three-year-old she finished second in the NSWBC fillies final (G1).

Mercieca said this year’s draft were an even lot but he believed the colt out of Better Than Carmer (1.54.8, $31K) would attract attention.

The colt (Lot 308) is by boom sire Downbytheseaside and his granddam is a half sister to Forest Vic (1.50,6, $928K), who won 50 races during an outstanding career in Australia and the US.

“We raced the mare. She went 1.54.8 as a three-year-old but she used to tie-up, which hampered her a bit,” he said. “The colt has thrown to the Bettors side. He is on the smaller side but is good bodied and long barreled.

“The Warrawee Needy colt (Lot 345) is a big, strong yearling. He has really developed in the last six weeks on hard feed and when he fills out fully he will be impressive.”

The Merciecas will offer the only Vincent yearling in the sale, a filly (Lot 351) out of Four Starzzz Shark mare Meghan Suits Her.

“We bought her at the Winter Woolies sale in June and she has developed into a nice filly. She is typical of the Vincent, Art Major horses, stocky and well put together.”

The filly’s graddam, Peaceful Dreams, is a half sister to broodmare gem African Dancer, who left Redbank Blaze (1.50.6, $472K) and outstanding fillies Shesallattitude (1.55.1, $252K), Bamako Mali (1.55.6, $259K) and Prophesy (1.53, $152K).

The Merciecas are preparing two fillies by A Rocknroll Dance for Betty Adams (Lot 302 & Lot 357).

They are both from handy race mares and go back to Westburn Grant. It is the family of quality filly Que Sera (1.54.2, $110K).

“Keith died 12 months ago and Betty decided to put them through the sale. They have bred this line for generations and it is probably the first time that their fillies have been offered at auction,” Mercieca said.

For full details of these Lots as well as all catalogued yearlings in the 2024 Australian Pacing Gold Yearling Sales please visit our Online Sales Catalogue or Register as a Buyer now.