AS WITH any expectant mum, there is much excitement surrounding an impending birth, and at Tanja Park Stud it’s no different.
An air of anticipation hangs over the farm, as stud owner Richard Gorton and his daughter, Nisette Rask, eagerly await the birth of arguably the biggest event in the boutique stud’s relatively short history.
Favoured brood mare Annesong is in foal to Exceed and Excel, the same stallion chosen to serve champion thoroughbred Black Caviar this spring.
Due to foal in October, it is hoped Annesong and Exceed and Excel’s offspring will generate plenty of interest, especially now the owners of Black Caviar have also chosen Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stud for their famous mare.
The progeny of Exceed And Excel, who is champion sire of the year (as was his sire Danehill), made a clean sweep of this season's juvenile triple crown with Overreach winning the Golden Slipper and another of his daughters, Guelph, claiming the Sires' Produce and Champagne Stakes.
Annesong, now 11, is the most expensive mare bought by the Gortons to date and has an impressive track record herself.
She is a “black type mare” having won one Group 3 race.
Following retirement at age six, Annesong became a brood mare and was bought by the Gortons when she was expecting her second foal.
“After that foal was born, she had a year off as she didn’t get in foal that year, but happily she is in foal now,” Ms Rask said.
Annesong is one of four brood mares to be in foal, with two to be born at home and two away.
They, along with five yearling fillies (to be sold in March next year) and a couple of retired brood mares, live on a 40ha property in idyllic and peaceful surrounds on the edge of Mumbulla State Forest.
“We picked Exceed and Excel as the sire back in April last year,” Ms Rask said.
“It’s exciting because his offspring has had a fantastic year this year racing during the autumn carnival, especially in Sydney.
“He is the flavour of the month, which is why Black Caviar has been taken to him.”
With the fickle racing industry though, Ms Rask knows a lot can happen within a year.
“By the time the foal is ready for the sales, Exceed and Excel may not be as popular,” she said.
“Ideally we hope this foal will get into the Easter Inglis yearling sale.”
The first three mares arrived at Tanja Park Stud in 2007, and were bought at the William and Inglis and Son brood mare sales.
In addition to the yearlings, the stud owns four brood mares, plus has retained three of the fillies bred by Mr Gorton, in the hope they will do well as a race horse and then later as brood mares.
Two of the fillies are currently racing at Sydney - leased to a local syndicate – while the third, a two-year-old, is in training in Mornington, Victoria.
Mr Gorton has always had a keen interest in horse racing.
Born and raised in Capetown, South Africa, Mr Gorton grew up around stables as his father was a trainer.
With the knowledge he has gleaned over the years, he always hoped that once retired he would be able to run his own stud.
Ms Rask says it is encouraging to know that their small and young stud is already starting to reap the rewards.
“To have Black Caviar mated with Exceed and Excel, a stallion we researched early last year, says something of the quality of our mares and our choice of stallion.
“It shows we are doing something right.”