Woodditton Stud has enjoyed a long history with top horses and international owners dating back over 160 years since its foundation in 1851.
A sale advertisement in the Newmarket Journal in November 1894 gives an accurate picture of the property just before the turn of the last century, when it was described as: ‘an excellent small stud farm of about 69 acres, of which 26 acres are of grass, divided into seven convenient Paddocks, with excellent Farm premises and three cottages’ also ‘The Bungalow’, a newly erected residence, with Glass houses and Pleasure and Kitchen Gardens.’
The advert clearly caught the eye of at least one Newmarket resident, the Derby-winning trainer Martin Gurry, who purchased the property and named it the Bungalow Stud.
Gurry had, after a long-running dispute, received a large sum of money as severance pay from his former principle owner George Alexander Baird. Bungalow Stud offered a wise investment for Gurry, along with his building of the Newmarket yard which he pointedly named Abington Place after the nom de course of the mercurial Baird.
A year before his death in 1923, Gurry sold the stud to a professional gambler called Archie Falcon, who in turn sold it on in 1925 to Sir Victor Sassoon. Just a year earlier Sir Victor had inherited £15m on the death of his father as well as the baronetcy conferred on his great-grandfather by Queen Victoria for his contribution to India’s prosperity.
One of Sir Victor’s first moves was to rename the property Eve Stud, reflecting the nickname used by his closest friends taken from the initials of his first names: Ellice Victor Elias.
In possession of an international pedigree himself, Sir Victor was living in Shanghai at the time he purchased the stud. His first foray into racehorse ownership had been in India and he later purchased the bloodstock interests of Mathradas Goculdas, a Bombay cotton mill owner whose large string included horses in both Britain and India.