Million-dollar equine training and rehab centre races to auction
Heading to auction this week is Fenwick Farm, a 33ha equestrian complex in the Canungra Valley just west of the Gold Coast.
The property’s extensive equestrian facilities include 75 stables, 20 paddocks, two round yards, an arena, a 40m lap pool, horse walkers, 1300m sand track and 1500m grass track as well as an equine hospital with two operating theatres.
The property has three separate residential spaces with a three-bedroom space located in the main stable plus a four-bedroom home and another one-bedroom property.
Ray White Commercial Gold Coast director Michael Willems said it is unusual to see a property of this quality on the market and it has attracted interest from both south-east Queenslanders and interstate buyers.
“The interest has mostly come from people who are in the horse business or who are associated with horse racing,” he said.
“But there’s a couple of people who’ve shown interest in the different potential of the property, whether it’s future land subdivisions or something else they can do with it right now in an agricultural way, rather than retaining it as a horse-training facility.
From ostrich farm to million-dollar stunner
The current property is a far cry from what was once an ostrich farm and later, a thoroughbred horse complex owned by Doomben Racecourse’s course manager, Gavin Burke.
Sterling Cincotta, former managing director of the 2K Thoroughbreds (2KT) syndicate, bought the rundown property for $3.5 million in 2019.
Mr Cincotta invested in and upgraded the facilities before leasing it out to Fenwick Farm Operations to break in, train and rehabilitate thoroughbred racehorses.
Australia’s horse-racing industry as a whole is worth $5 billion per year to the economy and there are 660 stud farms throughout the country, according to AgriFutures Australia.
Nutrien Harcourts Tenterfield real estate agent, Jack Thomas, believes demand for equine properties will continue to rise despite the current economic uncertainty.
“We’re going to see people buying who have somewhat of an idea about horses and those who have no idea at all, which makes your buyer end just huge and which will drive the prices even higher,” Mr Thomas said.
Mr Thomas explained novice equestrians were increasingly keen to throw their hat in the buyer ring simply because they wanted to get away from metropolitan COVID restrictions.
“After all, what would you rather do on the weekend – go out to your property where you don’t have to worry about wearing a mask and can do just what you want to do?” he said.
“Plus it looks great on Instagram to say that you’re going out to the farm.”
Canungra Valley Real Estate principal John Tetlow marketed Fenwick Farm several years ago before it sold in a private sale to Mr Cincotta.
He said the lack of supply for even small farms was also contributing to higher sale prices.
“There’s always going to be demand for horse properties because it’s a big industry,” he said.
“And the money’s around now as people are not spending their money overseas.”
Leased stay or vacant possession
With Fenwick Farm Operations having a leased stay agreement at the property until August 2024, the current staff are looking forward to continuing to work there for the foreseeable future, Mr Willems explained.
However, there is also the possibility of selling the property on vacant possession terms should the buyer require it, he said.
While he was reluctant to reveal a potential sale price, Mr Willems said Mr Cincotta was serious about ensuring it was sold.
“This is a good opportunity for someone to buy something that probably doesn’t become available all that often,” he said.
Fenwick Farm goes to auction on Sunday, January 23 at 10am at RACV Royal Pines Resort, Benowa.