sport news HORSE POWER: The tragedy of Warren Place, the rusting former home of super ... trends now
Warren Place: the two words should immediately bring you a sense of joy. Of all the training bases in Newmarket, this was the one that resonated most with a wider audience.
This, after all, was the home of Sir Henry Cecil — the historic base where this most popular of souls nurtured thoroughbreds with painstaking precision and allowed them to blossom in the same way the roses did in his vibrant back garden.
From Frankel to Fairy Footsteps, Reference Point to Reams of Verse, this was the best of racing. Cecil sent out 25 British Classic winners and masterminded 75 Royal Ascot victories here, upholding the traditions of his father-in-law Noel Murless.
Cecil won 10 trainers’ titles from Warren Place, having taken the reins in 1976.
Murless won eight of his haul of nine after moving into the property in 1952. The numbers and names involved should tell someone with just the slightest interest in racing that the place is special.
When the late Queen used to go to Newmarket to watch her horses, she would go to Warren Place to have tea with Sir Henry Cecil
Warren Place now currently resembles a ghost ship, standing hauntingly empty on Moulton Road
To put it another way, how about this: when the late Queen used to go to Newmarket to watch her horses, she would go to Warren Place to have tea with Cecil. It was an Arcadia, where sporting dreams and fantasy would be brought to life.
How sad, then, that it currently resembles a ghost ship. It stands hauntingly empty on the brow of Moulton Road, a short canter from the renowned gallops on Warren Hill. It is baffling that a property of such majesty should be left deserted.
Time spent outside it last week was deflating. Through the trees you can see the boxes at the front of the yard, all with their stable doors slammed shut.
Cecil initially wanted to put Frankel in one of these boxes, so he could see him each morning when he went for his morning smoke.
The old house had scaffolding around it and a group of builders were on the roof, chivvying away at tasks. Nobody has lived in the house since Cecil’s widow, Lady Jane, moved out in 2015, no horses have clip-clopped through the yard since Ed Walker’s tenancy ended shortly after.
It was like taking part in a real-life game of spot the difference, searching for the things that were obviously different and missing; the flag pole from which Cecil used to fly his family crest after winning a Group One race, for instance, stands barren besides the front gates.
And those gates, which led the way to a racing Eden, were padlocked shut with a