One of the top racehorse-training establishments in the world – which has produced no fewer than five Melbourne Cup winners – has been put up for sale.
The grand, sweeping 120-hectare Macedon Lodge estate, at Victoria’s Mount Macedon 60 kilometres north-west of Melbourne, is being sold by legendary racing identity Lloyd Williams and his son Nick.
The pair have spent up to $33 million on the property after buying it for $5 million in 2005 as a very raw facility – it’s expected to sell for between $20 million and $40 million in an international expressions-of-interest campaign launched on January 8 at the Magic Millions Yearling Sales.
“We’ll be incredibly sad to see it go,” said Nick Williams, 50, after the father-and-son duo decided to concentrate on their European operation and outsource the training of their horses in Australia. “But we’ll be making sure it goes to a good home.
“It’s a very unique property, and we want it to go to someone with the same sort of passion as us, and the drive to want to be the best that we’ve had. It’s probably now the best training establishment in the southern hemisphere and in the top two or three in the world.”
The purpose-built facility has, in the past, housed up to 100 horses, and has more than 15 kilometres of tracks for training, a 75-metre horse pool, 75 boxes, 25 grass day yards, 20 spelling paddocks, a water-walker and a specialised lighting area for treating horses during their convalescence.
It also has on-site accommodation for more than 15 staff, as well as a café, office facilities and entertainment areas.
The sale is being managed by Mark Wizel, director investments for agency CBRE, along with Barry Bowditch, managing director of Magic Millions Sales.
“The vendors will be meeting the market,” Mr Wizel said. “But the buyer pool will be diverse.
“With Australian racing being a leader on the global scene, it won’t surprise anyone to see this asset sell to interests connected to overseas markets such as interest from Hong Kong.
“Equally, the property has such an incredible and consistent track record of preparing and housing winning horses of Australia’s biggest races that it wouldn’t surprise either if there is strong interest from some of the leading Australian-based owners and trainers in the industry.”
Alternatively, the estate could be used for different kinds of enterprises, such as convention centres, health and wellbeing businesses, and HR training facilities.
Set in beautiful countryside, not far from Hanging Rock, it’s close to the Melbourne CBD, is only 30 minutes to the airport and is on the Calder Freeway and the V/Line train service.
But it’s for the quality of the racehorses produced that the property is best known. Lloyd Williams, 79, has taken out the Melbourne Cup a record six times, and his last four winners – Efficient in 2007, Green Moon in 2012, Almandin in 2016 and Rekindling in 2017 – have all trained at Macedon Lodge.
In addition, it’s also been a training base for other champions, like Ethereal, who won the Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cups in 2001 and sprinter Bel Esprit, a sire of Black Caviar.
“The complex has produced in excess of 20 Group 1 winners, including the winners of Australia’s greatest races, the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup and Sydney Cup,” said Lloyd Williams. “Over the last 14 years, I have lived at Macedon Lodge and supervised everything, but more recently I have found it impossible to devote the time and energy required.”
Nick Williams said he and his father would continue running just as many winners, but no longer from Macedon Lodge. “We’ll keep going as we do, with just as many runners,” he said. “But it doesn’t make sense to keep it when we’re not fully utilising it.
“We hope that someone will hopefully carry Macedon Lodge forward and keep the legacy going. That could be an overseas buyer, as racing is a very global industry in this day and age, or a local buyer as the industry has some pretty big players in it, and that could be an individual or an industry body.
“And the market will decide what it’s worth, whether that’s $20 million or $40 million.”
The sales campaign will close in early March.
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