King not panicking over new yard sale

Alan King at his Barbury Castle stables in Wiltshire (November 12, 2010)

Alan King: insists it will be business as usual at his stables

  PICTURE: David Dew (  

 By David Carr 10:03AM 22 SEP 2016 

LEADING jumps trainer Alan King faces another period of anxiety as his yard is set to be put up for sale for the second time in 13 years.

But he stressed it will be business as usual at Barbury Castle, where he has been based since 2000 and from where he has sent out 15 Cheltenham Festival winners.

Count Konrad Goess-Saurau, who owned the estate when King moved in, put it on the market in 2003 but it was bought by Nigel and Penny Bunter, who had horses with the trainer.

Now the Bunters have decided to sell Barbury Castle, which has approximately 1,800 acres of land near Marlborough in Wiltshire.

King said: “It is going up for sale but it will be business as normal for us. Nigel and Penny have been marvellous landlords but they feel like doing something different. So watch this space.

“It is an uncertain time but life is uncertain. It happened before and there is nothing I can do. We will just have to see what happens.”

Barbury Castle is on the market with Knight Frank, who describe the facilities as ‘outstanding’.

Current owners ‘downsizing’

The property description lists: “Stabling for over 130 horses, together with nine all-weather and grass gallops ranging from 5f to 1m. There is a 1.3 mile round renowned point-to-point course, together with a world-class eventing facility, with an established international horse trials run in July each year.”

Bunter, who sold his mobile phone company Cellular Operations to Vodafone, said: “Penny and I have decided the time is right for us to downsize but we are definitely not lost to racing or eventing.

“We have a number of lovely horses coming through from the stud and we will continue to support Alan King here at Barbury.”

Bunter, whose colours have been carried by Sagaro Stakes winner Shipmaster and useful jumpers such as D’Argent and Trouble At Bay, added: “We have had a great time, particularly seeing Alan’s success and developing the horse trials, but like all good businesses it could not have been achieved without exceptional, dedicated people around us. We wish the new owners every success and happiness at Barbury.”

The estate also includes nearly 900 acres of commercial arable cropping, with extensive grassland grazed by almost 1,000 sheep, along with a pheasant and partridge shoot.

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