End of an era for Cup as Williams prepares to shut Macedon Lodge


Since the Melbourne Cup, a number of trainers have been buying horses from Williams privately, leading to further speculation the Australian operation will close.

Williams has always sold off his stock when he believed it was the right time but when contacted by the Herald on Sunday about the rumour, Macedon Lodge would close he didn’t deny it, replying “4 Melbourne Cup winners and 26 G1 in 21 st best wishes Lloyd.”

Irish horse Rekindled wins the 2017 Cup for owner Lloyd Williams.Credit:Getty

Williams has become the Cups king since Bart Cummings’ death. His passion for the Melbourne Cup is unmatched and led to him create Macedon Lodge to target the race that stops the nation every year.

“The Melbourne Cup is his dream. He is a great strategist in everything he does and this is the race he wants to win.” his son Nick said in the lead-up to the 2012 Cup win by Green Moon.

This spring, however, was lean in terms of runners from Macedon Lodge. His head trainer Liam Howley has only taken 29 runners to the races this season with the operation’s most recent winners Homesman in the Feehan Stakes and Spanish Point at Geelong in September.

Williams’ son Nick denied Macedon Lodge would be sold in August on Melbourne radio in response to the rumours about the future of the operation.

“We’re obviously businessmen first and foremost but we love Macedon Lodge,” he said. “It’s a wonderful place. If a sheikh or someone came knocking on the door and offered us a massive price, then of course we’d consider it.

“It’s a superior training place and we’re not inclined to give away that edge.”

William built Macedon Lodge on 300 acres to deliver Melbourne Cup winners and it has more than eight kilometres of tracks as well as a 75-metre horse pool, water-walker and a special lighting set-up for recuperating horses.

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It was something that helped Almandin back from injury to win the Melbourne Cup in 2016.

Williams has won his first Melbourne Cup with the Tommy Smith-trained Just A Dash in 1981 and followed that up by winning the first $1 million Cup in 1985 with What A Nuisance. Then came the winners from Macedon Lodge – Efficient (2007), Green Moon and Almandin.

Williams has always sourced European stayers for his operation but in 2017 he won the Cup with Rekindling, which was trained by Joseph O’Brien and travelled from Ireland.

Macedon Lodge was placed on the market in 2014, when Williams had thoughts of the moving his operation to the Mornington Peninsula but no buyers could be found.

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