When Stoke City footballer Rob Hughes?s playing career was cut short by injury, he and his wife, Valerie, set their sights on success in the up-and-down world of thoroughbred breeding.
In 1990, they bought Lostford Manor with 77 acres of land near Ternhill in the heart of the quiet Shropshire countryside, and over the years, have transformed the former farmhouse and buildings into a super efficient residential stud farm with some 50 winners to its credit the most recent being the aptly-named Always Hopeful, winner of the Richmond Stakes at the recent Goodwood meeting.
Now Mr and Mrs Hughes want to scale down their operations and are offering Lostford Manor and stud-farm for sale through Lane Fox (01743 353511) at a guide price of £1.75m. Some of the breeding stock may be available to purchase separately.
Lostford Manor is a charming 19th-century farmhouse with earlier origins, built of traditional brick under a slate roof. It has been cleverly extended to provide two main reception rooms, a garden room, a billiard room, six bedrooms and three bathrooms.
The extensive equestrian facilities include 28 loose boxes, along with barns, storage, a horse-walker, a lunge-ring and a number of sheltered, well-fenced paddocks.
Many parents of horse-mad children find themselves expanding the stabling and training facilities at their homes in the country as their offspring progress up the competitive ladder, only to see such facilities made redundant when university or the bright lights of London eventually beckon.
That was the situation facing Lorraine and David Clark when their daughters grew up and left home, as a result of which their customised equestrian base at picturesque Holmbury St Mary, near Dorking, Surrey, is on the market through Strutt & Parker (01483 306565) at a guide price of £1.35m.
Having bought Holmbury Stables with 30 acres of ragwort-infested land in 1994, Mr and Mrs Clark have converted the semi-derelict former racing stables, once part of the Guinness family?s Holmbury estate, into a practical, five-bedroom family home with serious training facilities for competition horses.
These include storage and paddocks, a floodlit dressage manège by Charles Britton and eight brick-built loose boxes as well as six further loose boxes with planning permission for conversion to further accommodation, all with easy access to miles of wonderful hacking on the nearby Holmbury and Leith Hills.
This article was originally published in Country Life magazine, August 11, 2005. To subscribe click here.