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Wednesday 18 October 2017

Gallery: Cheltenham connections - the birthplace of Arkle could be yours for €13m

The birthplaces of national hunt legends Arkle and Best Mate are on the market in Meath

Ballymacoll Stud, Dunboyne, Co Meath
Ballymacoll Stud, Dunboyne, Co Meath
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

The birthplace of the famous Arkle and one of the most prestigious stud farms in the country is up for sale. It is expected to command a price in the region of €12m to €13m.

The world renowned equestrian holding, Ballymacoll Stud on 295ac is located 3km from Dunboyne, 7km from Maynooth and is about 20 minutes from Dublin Airport.

Built by Henry Hamilton towards the end of the 18th century, Ballymacoll has had many owners and tenants over the years including the Irish Army who occupied the farm during World War II. In 1946 it was bought by Dorothy Paget who never visited Ballymacoll but actively built its equestrian reputation until her death in 1960.

It was then bought by industrialist and philanthropist Michael Sobell and his son-in-law Sir Arnold Weinstock who paid £250,000 for the place.

Arkle (left) and his great rival Millhouse battle it out in the 1965 Gold Cup, the second of a three-in-row of Gold Cups for the Irish horse considered to be possibly the greatest in national hunt racing history
Arkle (left) and his great rival Millhouse battle it out in the 1965 Gold Cup, the second of a three-in-row of Gold Cups for the Irish horse considered to be possibly the greatest in national hunt racing history

Top class

The stud farm was managed for the Sobell-Weistock partnership by Charlie Rogers who concentrated on breeding from a limited number of top-class mares and targeting the Classics.

This policy has been maintained by successive regimes at the stud including the most recent manager, Peter Reynolds, and has generated undoubted success.

Outlining the success story of Ballymacoll Willie Coonan of selling agents REA Coonans Maynooth says that for over 50 years Ballymacoll Stud has a huge reputation in bloodstock circles.

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"It has bred 30 individual Group 1 winners internationally including Classic winners Troy, Sun Princess, North Light, Helen Street, Conduit, Spectrum and as recently as this weekend Sir John Hawkwood won a Group 1 at Randwick."

Ballymacoll's most famous son, Arkle, was born at the farm in April 1957 and went on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Leopardstown Chase in '64, '65 and '66, the Irish Grand National in '64, the Hennessy Gold Cup in '64 and '65 and the King George Chase in '65. Ballymacoll is a beautiful property maintained to the highest standards and in picture postcard condition having been completely refurbished in 1998.

The stud has 62 stables set in a lovely ivy-clad Georgian courtyard on a site that incorporates everything needed for a top class equestrian operation including a lunging ring, exercise yard, tack rooms, veterinary room, fodder storage, office space and staff accommodation.

The land extending to almost 300ac is all in pasture and made up of the best of Co Meath land.

With extensive frontage on to three roads the place is divided into paddocks by stud railing and excellently maintained hedging. An internal tarmac roadway system runs through the middle of the property from the main entrance gate to the back gate.

Willie Coonan is expecting huge interest locally and internationally in the sale of Ballymacoll and while no reserve price has been fixed it is anticipated the property will realise in the order of €12m to €13m.

Indo Farming

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