Story from the March 2019 Horse Deals magazine.
The massive indoor arena is 35m x 75m with a Martin Collins surface and overhead sprinklers.
Leisurely Park, Dromana, is the latest incarnation of an historic Mornington Peninsula property. Originally 800 acres, the property started life as a berry orchard and exotic tree nursery which accounts for the beautiful English trees, including an oak that is over 130 years old. Under the name, Glen Appin Stud, the Dromana property was the first to stand multiple Thoroughbred stallions says Farm Manager and keen jumping rider, Darren Godfrey. Horses like Voodoo Rhythm, Full On Aces, Bending Away and Reckless stood there. Glen Appin then became Delamere Stud that stood the likes of 1986 Melbourne Cup winner At Talaq and 1993 Caulfield Cup winner, Fraar.
Frankston car dealer, Gary Lechte owned Delamere for 20 years and in 2010 sold the property to V8 Supercars team owner, Rod Nash who was more in to horse power than horses, but the beautiful 1930s mansion on the property offered a luxurious lifestyle. Nash sold Delamere in 2016.
“A Chinese business family bought the now 103 acre property and renamed it Leisurely Park”, says Darren, “they wanted a good lifestyle and to live on the Peninsula. They also had the desire to own an equestrian property, but were not interested in racing. They live here permanently and travel back and forth to China. I managed another Thoroughbred Farm in the area for ten years and this used to be our overflow property; all our weaners would grow up here. I was talking to the owners here saying that if I ever had the money, I would buy the property and turn it in to a performance training centre where people could come and hold clinics or train. They asked what that would take to establish, I told them and they agreed to do it and asked me if I would manage the operation.
“We now have four arenas; an indoor, 35 x 75m with a Martin Collins surface and overhead sprinklers, a 30m x 50m outdoor with a Tri Mix sand surface, a couch grass riding and jumping arena and a 20m x 60m dirt surface. We are well under way with clinics having hosted Vicki Roycroft, Chris Chugg, Jessica Greelish (dressage) and there are more to come, including a George Morris clinic in May. We have five agistees, mostly eventing and jumping people. We don’t do a lot of agistment, as this place is purely set up for clinics and training. A lot of instructors have permanent bookings and come and do all their coaching here.
“We have three staff, me, a part timer that comes three days a week and a gardener. I have six horses here and the farm has two horses, an off the tracker, Riot Man that was in Jump Off and the owner has a Warmblood mare that he rides, as well as 20 cattle that help with pasture management.”
Fortunately for the Melbourne and Peninsula riding community the meeting of Darren and the new owners of this iconic property has resulted in a wonderful riding and training facility.
Photos: Julie Wilson. Story: Anna Sharpley.
Some action in the indoor. Amanda Ross is pictured jumping with the colourful mural printed in China decorating the entire back wall.
More quiet, shaded accommodation for the stallions. These boxes were used during the stallion parades conducted by Delamere.
The new heated and cooled coffee room next to the indoor provides an area for a break or a lecture.
There are 37 boxes at Leisurely, most situated in this main barn.
The main barn has 26 boxes and eight have been converted into private tack rooms.
The wash bay in the main barn.
Looking down the barn from the saddling up area, past the converted private tack rooms and beyond to the 18 remaining stables.
An aerial view of Leisurely Park. The layout of the property is much as it was for Delamere Thoroughbred Stud with the addition of the indoor and outdoor arenas and a lot of maintenance work. This photo was taken above and behind the main activity area of the property. The private residence is at the top left with the horses entrance at top right of the treed in rectangle. You can see Port Phillip Bay in the distance.
A beautiful view of the dam.
An old, but still useful round yard with plenty of shade.
This old covered round yard has been totally walled in by the foliage. It is a cool, quiet place to work.
The foaling tower was manned 24 hours a day during the stud's foaling season.
The pad is ready for the horse walker to be installed.
The solar panels provide power back in to the grid and Leisurely Park is constantly in credit for electricity.
A certified helicopter landing arena next to the main residence.
There is no shortage of shade at Leisurely, as the property was originally an exotic tree nursery. There are 25 day yards for clinic goers to use, all post and rail with round corners.
The outdoor arena, adjacent to the indoor is 30m x 50m and has a Tri Mix sand surface with a travelling irrigator.
The large and active chook house has two apple trees growing in it.