Equestrian paradise doesn't get much better than Hodcott House and West Ilsley Stables, near Newbury in the West Berkshire Downlands.
The legendary trainer Major Dick Hern established West Ilsley Stables in the pretty village of West Ilsley, 12 miles from Newbury, as a dominant force in English racing, following the yard’s purchase by his patron, the Hon John Jacob Astor, in 1962.
From 1963 to 1989, he sent out no fewer than 25 Classic winners from West Ilsley, among them Brigadier Gerard, Bustino, Henbit, Troy and Nashwan.
He also trained The Queen’s multiple Group winner, Height of Fashion, which she later sold to Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum; it’s understood that she bought West Ilsley with the proceeds in 1982.
In 1999, The Queen sold West Ilsley Stables to its present owner, former Southampton and England footballer Mick Channon, who has maintained the yard’s fine track record by sending out the winners of more than 2,000 races.
During his time there, Mr Channon has greatly improved the accommodation and facilities of one of England’s most famous training yards, set in some 63 acres in the heart of the West Berkshire Downs, within the North Wessex Downs AONB.
The main house on the immaculate small country estate is the beautifully-renovated Hodcott House, a charming, 6,243sq ft, family home with four reception rooms, a large kitchen/breakfast room and six bedroom suites.
The equestrian facilities comprise 105 loose boxes, 35 stalls, trotting and lunging rings and a covered horse-walker. Staff accommodation is available on site in three flats above the stables, two semi-detached cottages, five detached bungalows, eight semi-detached bungalows and a former hostel. The owners have also converted a former barn into a 5,231sq ft, two-storey office block.
Now, with cost-cutting and efficiency a number-one priority for racehorse trainers great and small, Mr Channon is looking to the future by establishing his son and assistant trainer, Jack, in a slimmed-down, more cost-effective racing yard, reveals Rupert Sweeting of Knight Frank’s Country Department, who quotes a guide price of £6.975 million for West Ilsley as a whole, or in up to 5 lots.
West Ilsley: What you need to know
Location: In the West Berkshire Downlands, 11 miles north of Newbury.
Atmosphere: The quintessential English village has a cricket pitch and local pub at its core and is surrounded by beautiful rolling countryside. Neighbouring Newbury provides comprehensive amenities, as does Oxford and Reading.
Things to do: Within the village is a cricket and tennis club, plus plenty of picturesque walking routes to explore. Head to Newbury for horse racing, Oxford for a dose of history and culture and Reading for its festival, shopping and riverside restaurants.
Schools: The area is well served by both state and private schools including the Ilsleys Primary School, Downe House, Brockhurst, Radley College and Abingdon School.
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