Keeping a horse in top form and winning races requires more than just natural ability and training.
Behind every picture of a winner hanging on somebody's wall is a long story which starts in a paddock.
High quality spelling and pre-training of thoroughbreds provides the foundation on which a trainer can build and getting this part of the equation right is often the difference between the winners and the also rans.
Situated north of Sydney at Mulbring on 130 acres of undulating land backing onto the State Forest below Mt Sugarloaf and Mt Vincent, Fairhill Farm is approximately a 40 minute drive from Newcastle, sixty minutes from the northern outskirts of Sydney and just one and a half hours from the major horse centre of Scone in the heart of the Hunter Valley.
Owned and run by Mike and Debbie O'Donnell, Fairhill Farm is a little slice of horse paradise that caters to racehorse spellers and breeding stock with last season's Group I winner Choice Bro, the first winner at the elite level to carry the Fairhill Farm brand.
An ideal location for broodmares during the busy breeding season, 23 year-old Campbell Fever (pictured) has been cuddled along for the past seven years at the farm and has produced another foal this spring.
A colt by Time Thief, he is the 14th foal for Campbell Fever, who is the dam of seven winners including stakes-winner Woppitt and stakes-placed Dane Fever and Swinging Bachelor.
"She's an amazing mum and does such a good job," said Mike O'Donnell.
"She has a yearling filly by Haradasun that will be going to the Melbourne sales next year and is a full sister to talented three year-old Hot Fever, a brilliant winner at her only start last season.
"Campbell Fever was covered by I Am Invincible this spring and at this stage has tested in foal again!"
Broodmare management and agistment as well as ongoing care of weanlings leading to yearling sales preparation are all a part of the Fairhill Farm business, along with racehorse agistment for long and short term spellers.
"In relation to spelling, we charge $24.20 per day for spellers sharing a paddock and $26.40 for spellers on their own and we offer a very high standard of hands on care carried out by experienced horse staff, who genuinely enjoy their work," O'Donnell said.
"Our rainfall average is 46 inches per year, which provides ample water for quality pasture and we have a walker on the property for exercise as well as the option of additional pre-training on the Newcastle track."
Earlier this week, the team at Fairhill Farm were happy to note a couple of new winners that were raised on the farm with three year-old filly Gladius (3f Holy Roman Emperor (IRE) x Healing Kiss) (pictured above as a foal) scoring by two lengths on debut for Matthew Dale at Orange and three year-old filly The Diamond One (3f Tale of the Cat (USA) x The Jewel) (pictured below as a foal) scoring easily in New Zealand at her third start.
"They were both foaled and raised here, so you get a great sense of satisfaction out of seeing them come out and win," said O'Donnell.
"Everything we do here is aimed at having these horses leave our care in the very best possible condition, whether that is a broodmare going back to her owner at the end of the season, a yearling or weanling heading to the sales or a racehorse returning to work."
Attention to detail and a great natural environment make Fairhill Farm a smart choice for the bloodstock owner looking to keep their horses in premium condition and within 'arms-length' of Sydney.
For more information contact Mike O'Donell on 0439 380 142 and visit http://www.fairhillfarm.com.au/