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Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Moving house – with a difference: Meade team relocate to Manton

Fox in the box: Frankel two-year-old Fox Vardy loads for Manton
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There were emotional scenes at Sefton Lodge Stables in Newmarket on Sunday as Martyn Meade went through the six-hour process of moving his entire operation to Manton in Wiltshire. 

The move, which commenced at 9am, involved a fleet of seven horseboxes, five of which were provided by Lambourn Racehorse Transport and had travelled up the night before.

In total, 50 horses were relocated, including Group 2 winner Eminent and Classic hope Chilean, although that duo got the equivalent of a taxi to their new domain in Meade's own horsebox, with the trainer's son Freddie behind the wheel.

Eminent leaves Sefton Lodge for the last time followed by Freddie and Martyn Meade
Last November Meade announced he had bought the lion's share of the historic Manton estate in Wiltshire and will train from the Fyfield Yard on the property, which can house 80 horses.

Meade saddled his first Group 1 winner when Aclaim won the Prix de la Foret last October and is hoping for a seamless transition.

He said: "It's the end of one chapter but the beginning of another. All the horses have been dispatched without any issue and hopefully we can get them settled in at Manton this afternoon.

"Logistically, it helps that it's a Sunday when hopefully the roads will be quiet. The staff have done a marvellous job. It's a sad day in one way but exciting one in another and I just hope that Richard Spencer has as much success as we've had at Sefton Lodge."

Lambourn Racehorse Transport box and driver Paul Price
Last month the Racing Post revealed that Spencer and his backer Phil Cunningham had purchased Sefton Lodge. They hope to begin the somewhat shorter move from the town's Albert House Stables in April.

One major plus for Meade is that most of his staff have bought into his Wiltshire dream and are going with him.

He added: "We've around 20 staff and I think there are only three that aren't coming with us – it's great to be able to keep the team together. "

Eminent: the Group 2 winner was driven to his new home by Freddie Meade
Among those relocating is Martin Peake, who in his days with Lady Cecil looked after multiple Group 1 winner Noble Mission.

He said: "I've only recently rejoined Mr Meade as I wanted to be part of the move to Manton – I worked down there for John Gosden many years ago. I had a great time then and can't wait to go back. I can't think of a better place to train racehorses."

AnIffraaj two-year-old loads, supervised by Martin Peake and Danny Byrnes
Also on the move is Danny Byrnes, who was busy loading many of the two-year-olds onto the various transporters.

He said: "I like the Berkshire/Wiltshire area as I used to work for Andrew Balding so know plenty of people down there. Manton is a place steeped in history and I can't wait to get down there."

Before jumping in his car and heading for the M4, Meade was already looking ahead.

He said: "It will be a different way of life out in the country; we're almost in the centre of a town here.

"If he settles in well enough in his new setting we could run Eminent against Cracksman in the Prix Ganay at Longchamp next month, and Chilean could also head to France for a Classic trial before that."

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It's a sad day in one way but exciting one in another and I just hope that Richard Spencer has as much success as we've had at Sefton Lodge
E.W. Terms
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