Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin racing operation has unveiled its plans for the redevelopment of Warren Place, the stables formerly occupied by the late Sir Henry Cecil and described by its new owners as “possibly the most prestigious racing yard in the UK.”
And the Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai, who is the world’s most powerful racehorse owner, has confirmed that there will be no external alterations to the yard’s two most iconic features, the mock Tudor trainer’s house, and the Front Yard, the landmark range of 42 period loose boxes which are often featured in photographs of the famous yard.
Godolphin, which already owns the neighbouring 1,200 acre Moulton Paddocks training centre, and the large house, Warren Towers, has recently completed the purchase of Warren Place. The yard had been Sir Henry’s base since he bought it from his father-in-law, Royal trainer Sir Noel Murless, in 1976.
And it was there that he established himself as one of the greatest trainers in racing history , winning the trainers’ championship 10 times and training the winners of 25 Classic and countless other big races. The yard was also home to the best horse he ever trained, Frankel.
Godolphin wants to have the yard, which has been empty since Lady Cecil quit training last October, up and running by the start of the 2017 season, although it has not yet been disclosed which trainer will be based there.
The multi-million plans for its redevelopment include the demolition of around 80 wooden loose boxes and five staff houses which will be replaced with two pairs of semi detached properties and a house to be occupied by the yard’s eventual assistant trainer. However three of the existing cottages, five and six Warren Place, and Commander in Chief Cottage, named after one of Cecil’s four Derby winners will remain and be fully refurbished.
Three new yards, each with 31 boxes will be built with associated feed and bedding stores, tack room, wash down areas and staff toilets. There will be a separate service yard with machinery stores and staff welfare facilities, six new horse walkers and a 1.7 furlong exercise track with three new lunge rings.
The existing entrance to the site on the Moulton Road, furthest away from the town will be widened to become the main entrance.
“It seems clear that the local economy will benefit from the applicant’s move to this site; initially for the construction work and then subsequently the creation of jobs through the growth of their business,” said a report to planning authority, Forest Heath District Council. “As this is a new yard for Godolphin they will need to hire additional local staff. The business is looking to continue to expand moving towards staffing levels of in the region of 70 employees.”
Speaking about the proposals for Warren Place, Godolphin chief executive, John Ferguson, said: “Sheikh Mohammed wants to restore it to its former glories and the front yard and house will remain.”