Moving Up / Down / Out in Newmarket

Newmarket Stable

Newmarket Stables - who's moving in?

You would think that the end of the flat season means a time for trainers to wind down and relax until the New Year is upon us. Far from it.

Even for those trainers who do not run any of their horses on the all-weather during the dark and cold months of mid-winter, the off-season in Newmarket is still full of frantic dealings. Not for future champions, mind.

Come November, the annual hectic yard merry-go-round kicks into action and this year is not short of rumours of who is moving yards and where they may be going.

Since Simon Callaghan decided to leave these shores and set up a training establishment in America at the end of 2009, his Rathmoy Stables have not changed hands and, in recent months, the stables have been filled by overflow horses from Marco Botti’s yard just down the road.

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Callaghan took over the reins from his father, Neville, in 2007 and from the gates the family had produced Group One winners such as Danehill Dancer and Magistretti.

The outspoken Gay Kelleway has shown the keenest interest in the facility but at a valuation of £1.4m, it is only the trainers with strong financial backing who can afford such a purchase, and none have done so yet.

Kelleway, perhaps to release some equity, has put her own property up for sale. Queen Alexandra Stables just outside of Newmarket in Exning, is not the largest yard in the area but can boast one of the richer histories having sent out the 1905 Derby winner Cicero.

Kelleway has long talked about relocating her operation to France where prize money is better but claims she has ‘too many good owners to move’.

The next door neighbours have also decided to sell up. Harraton Court Stables, owned by jockey Darryll Holland, has had an absolute fortune spent on it to improve the facilities and the renovations have been seen to good effect with current tenant, Des Donovan, having one of his best seasons to date.

At the same price as Kelleway’s yard of just under £1m, the pair may struggle to find buyers in such tricky financial times. Many thought Holland’s purchase were a signal for his intentions to become a trainer after he retired from riding but now it is clear that he just wants to make a quick return on his investment.

On the other side of Newmarket, Classic-winning handler Peter Chapple-Hyam has also put the ‘For Sale’ sign up outside of his yard.

Since winning the Derby with Authorized in 2007, numbers have surprisingly dwindled at Machell Place Stables. Some cite these losses to the trainer being distracted by other aspects of his life whilst others say he has just been a severe casualty of the ‘credit crunch’.

Either way, £1.5m will buy you his six-bedroom house, 39 stables and staff cottage. Sussex trainer Gary Moore has shown an interest in the property, as well as a desire to relocate to the headquarters of racing, but having just spent a reported £3m to acquire Charles Cyzer’s old yard in Horsham, the move looks unlikely.

The rumour mill continues to turn...

Ross Birkett [Ross is a qualified journalist, and writes regularly on his own blog at www.sportingpost.net. He is also the son of trainer Julia Feilden, and has ridden nine winners under rules.]

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