Newmarket’s original racing yard, Palace House Stables, is welcoming new plans for funding and development

Palace House Stables, reputed to be the oldest training establishment in the world, has again become the focus for development plans.

Previous proposals to reopen the 17th century stables – last used by trainer Bruce Hobbs 20 years ago – have failed to attract sufficient funding since their acquisition by ForestHeath District Council in 1993. The council has just completed the refurbishment of neighbouring Palace House using Heritage Lottery funding, and has installed its tourist office there.

The bulk of the capital for the latest bid is also expected to come from Lottery funds, and the racing community has voiced its support for the project, which is expected to cost between £4m and £6m.

A council spokesman said: “We are keen to enhance the town’s position as the centre of racing. We have no fixed ideas yet, but we would love to see a working yard there again.”

Possibilities include moving the National Horseracing Museum, which is rapidly becoming short of space in its high street premises, into Palace House just opposite, with some exhibits in the stables themselves.

Palace House Stables, which consists of a trainer’s house, two adjoining courtyards and a paddock, might be let to a trainer, providing facilities for around 20 horses as well as staff accommodation. Parts of the yard could then be opened to the public.

Peter Amos, managing director of Jockey Club Estates and a trustee of the National Horseracing Museum, said: “The stables could become a wonderful set-up as a focal point for the promotion of racing. Realistically, it will be another five years in the making.”

Lord Zetland, who was at the forefront of a previous “very grand” plan to transform the stables, said: “I’m delighted somebody is doing something – I’ll be thrilled to bits if it works.”

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