Lloyd Williams to sell Macedon Lodge and move race empire to Peninsula

RACING identity and four-time Melbourne Cup winner Lloyd Williams will relocate his multimillion-dollar thoroughbred empire to the Mornington Peninsula and put his racehorse factory at Mount Macedon, Macedon Lodge, up for sale.

However, it seems that the $20-million price tag placed on the state-of-the-art racing operation will more than likely only appeal to wealthy Middle Eastern or Asian racing enthusiasts rather than Australians due to the price.

The proposed site for Williams' new racing base on the Mornington Peninsula promises to be just as remarkable in design as his establishment at Mount Macedon.

Williams has five major properties on the Peninsula but his son Nick said the ''nerve centre'' of the new racing complex will be a 121-hectare property the family owns in Boneo Road, Cape Schanck. ''Macedon Lodge is a $20 million-plus investment and this will be similar if not more,'' he said.

''Most of us have got houses down there or live there,'' he said.

He said the family had had past interest in Macedon Lodge for ''more than'' $20 million.

Apart from a series of tracks that reach beyond eight kilometres, Macedon Lodge has a range of other state-of-the-art facilities including a 75-metre pool, water-walker and a special lighting set-up for recuperating horses. It is believed to be able to house more than 100 horses.

The property has not only produced stayers either. When John Symons was appointed head trainer in 2000 he promptly won the group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield with Bel Esprit , who went on to win two more group 1 sprints nationwide.

Mr Williams said the Hudson Conway Racing machine, which has produced three Melbourne Cup winners, two Caulfield Cup winners and many group 1 winners at the Macedon property over the last decade, will relocate to 486 hectares on the Peninsula.

The wealthy tycoon cited ''family reasons'' for the decision. ''It was a difficult decision but the properties on the Peninsula give the opportunity to replicate the facilities at Macedon Lodge in a location that is central to the family's activities …'' Mr Williams said.

But the lavish Williams estate has been a source of controversy in the idyllic rural pocket. Late last year Fairfax Media reported Mr Williams and his son Nick infuriated Mount Macedon residents when they bulldozed vegetation on the 120-hectare property despite restrictive environment overlays and rural conservation zoning. In 2008, the Department of Sustainability and Environment investigated claims quad bikes were used to herd kangaroos off the property.

The property will be sold through Sydney-based bloodstock agents and auctioneers William Inglis & Sons.

-The Age

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