Barbury Castle Estate: sale confirmed - 'business as usual' for Alan King and horse trials
It has been confirmed that the Barbury Castle Estate has been sold - but the buyers have not been named and want to remain private.
Alan King's tenure of the training yard and his use of the gallops is now assured. And the future of the equestrian events held on the estate - including the international horse trials and the point-to-points - is also assured.
In a short statement released to Marlborough.News the buyers said: "The sale does not complete until February and so it is premature to say anything about future events - legally, the new owners don’t own the estate yet! That said, their wish is that it should be business as usual on all fronts including events and Alan King’s business. They would also like to remain private."
Penny and Nigel Bunter only put the 1,799 acres estate on the market with Knight Frank on September 28 - though their intention to sell had been revealed a few days earlier. Marlborough.News understands that contracts were exchanged on October 14.
The extensive property with arable, woodland and downland grazing - described as 'One of Wiltshire's finest estates' - had a guide price of £20 million.
Alan King has been through the uncertainties of a sale of the estate before. He moved into the Barbury Castle training yard in 2000 and the estate was sold in 2003 to the Bunters who had horses in training with King.
There will be much relief among the Marlborough area's equestrian community that the events held on the estate will continue. Only yesterday the Mildenhall based New Zealand eventers Jonelle and Tim Price told us it would be very sad if the Barbury horse trials were lost: "It would be a shame for the area - obviously for us it's great having a local event. Nigel Bunter has been very good for the sport - he's raised the bar. We're very grateful for what he's done."
However, it is not yet clear whether the July 2017 horse trials will go ahead - as planning for them has been on hold.
The Barbury Castle Racecourse's first point-to-point of the new season is on December 4 - organised by the Point-to-Point Owners and Riders Club.