A UNIQUE property in Ascot Vale, believed to be the last link to the golden era of harness racing, was sold today.
Owned by the same family for more than six decades, the plot is a throwback to a period when suburban stables were wide spread and a regular sight while travelling through the local streets.
Bill Davin’s ‘horse hotel’ known as ‘Goodwood’, hosted some of the greatest standardbreds of the past century, including six consecutive A G Hunter Cup winners.
Idle Raider was the first, having made the trip from New South Wales to capture the 1963 Cup for respected horseman, Pat Ryan.
Idle Raider’s victory came a week after grand South Australian trotter Gramel annexed the V L Dullard Cup while staying at Davin’s stable.
South Australian wonder Minuteman followed Idle Raider’s suit in 1964, with the champion’s trainer Eric Hurley having fond memories of his time in Ascot Vale and of Davin.
Minuteman also won the 1964 Inter Dominion while domiciled at Davin’s before returning to secure the 1966 Hunter Cup.
Other outstanding types which took residence at the stable include the likes of Robin Dundee, Halwes, Westburn Grant, Our Sir Vancelot, Thorate, Chandon and Waitaki Hanover and Gundary Flyer.
Following Davin’s death last July, his sons, Brian, Robert and Graeme made the gut-wrenching decision to sell.
“It will be a sad day when the place is no longer in the family,” Graeme said last month. “Unfortunately it is just how it is.
“In an ideal world it would be great if someone bought and restored it, but our fear is it will be bulldozed and replaced by town houses.”
To Graeme’s delight, his fears will not be realised.
Although purchased by a developer, the dwellings – which include a four-bedroom circa 1890 weatherboard home with cellar, stables and sand roll – are expected to be restored to their former glory.
The buyer’s plans include moving his young family into the house and installing a pool inside the stables.
“It’s a bittersweet moment knowing the place is sold,” Graeme said. “It’s sad it will be out of the family, but terrific to hear the plan is to restore the house and stables.”