Take up the reins from a racing legend
This property comes with a thoroughbred racing pedigree. Sharon Dale reports.
IDYLLIC Low Farm in Huttons Ambo, near Malton, has mass appeal, but it comes with an added extra that makes it a dead cert for professional jockeys.
The house has a sauna and shower in the attic, which is ideal for riders who need to sweat off a few pounds before a big race.
It was put there by racing legend Edward Hide, who built the property in 1964.
A sauna was a must for Edward, who reckons his natural weight has always been 10 stones. So keeping a top weight of eight stones was a battle he had to win to become one of the 20th century’s most successful jockeys.
He rode 2,593 winners during a long career that included several Classic triumphs, and his most famous race was the Derby in 1973 on Morston, a 25/1 outsider.
Although he is still an avid follower of the sport, Edward, 72, won’t be at the Derby next month.
He says: “I don’t go racing much because it’s not the same when you’re not riding, and I’m not interested in gambling.
“I always say I follow it closely from a distance.”
He checks the runners and riders each evening and marks off the winners, and then records Channel 4 Racing when he’s out, which is often.
He is a keen golfer and tennis player and helps out his wife Sue, who breeds ponies.
His workload is about to get bigger, too, after he and Sue prepare to sell their home of 45 years.
It was on the market in 2007 for £795,000 and taken off for a year or so while the Hides reassessed their options.
It is now now back on for £100,000 less, at £695,000.
The couple bought Low Farm 46 years ago and had their large detached home designed by an architect and built to their specification. Now, after deciding to downsize, they are planning to go down the selfbuild route again.
“We are downsizing due to age and with the children grown up and gone, we don’t need a fivebedroom house,” says Edward.
“We are hoping to build another, smaller house nearby and we are keeping some of our land so my wife can continue to breed show ponies.”
He is, he confides, thinking about the future when they may need a more manageable property. He doesn’t take his present good form for granted, after a shock bout of ill-health eight years ago.
On Derby Day 2001, he had an operation for prostate cancer, which he survived, only to have a heart attack a few months later.
“I was lucky because I was sitting in the doctor’s surgery when it happened or I wouldn’t have survived,” says Edward, who had a triple heart bypass.
The heart attack surprised him because he considered himself fit and healthy after years of racing, though the weight restrictions may have taken their toll.
When his career as a jockey ended, he devoted more time to golf and tennis and still plays often. Even though his daughter, a conference organiser, and his son, a travel writer, now live in London, leaving the Malton area is unthinkable for the Hides.
“All our old friends are here and my golf and tennis friends are here, too,” says Edward.
He arrived in Yorkshire in the early 1950s and it has been home ever since, even when his career forced him to work away, with long stretches in Newbury, Newmarket and Hong Kong.
He is originally from Shropshire and racing was in his blood. His father was a trainer, as was his brother, and his nephew Philip is a National Hunt jockey.
“My only aim in life for as long as I can remember was to be a jockey. It’s what I wanted to do and I’m fortunate it came off for me.
“I had a pony from when I could walk, I went hunting and I managed to keep light enough for the flat,” he says.
He started riding for his father and when he was 14 he was spotted at Newmarket by Captain Elsey, of the Highfield Yard in Norton, near Malton.
The Captain saw star quality and eventually made him Highfield’s stable jockey.
His first classic was the 1959 St Leger on Cantelo, owned by bookmaker William Hill and trained by Captain Elsey.
He later established a partnership with Sheriff Hutton trainer Mick Easterby, for whom he won the 1,000 Guineas on Mrs McArdy in 1977.
Known as Eddie Hide, he was renowned as a great tactical jockey, and would walk the course before a race to find where the fastest ground was.
He went on to win a total of six classic races including the Derby, The Oaks, The 1,000 Guineas (1972 and 1977), and the St Leger, which he also won twice.
His personal life mirrored his success on the course. He met and married Sue and they bought the 45-acre Low Farm.
“It had a small farmhouse and we couldn’t convert it and make it bigger, so we built this house instead,” says Edward.
Weare really happy here. It’s lovely and quiet and we have beautiful scenery all around us.
It sits in a beautiful, rural spot with views across the Yorkshire Wolds. Inside it has an entrance hall, study, 30ft drawing room, dining room, kitchen with Aga, walk-in larder and laundry room.
Upstairs there is a master bedroom with en-suite bathroom, four further bedrooms and a house bathroom. The sauna and shower are in the attic.
Outside there are gardens with a stream and a 2.87 acre paddock with further land available by separate negotiation.
The Hides created a stud on their farmland and went on to breed the winners of 90 races. The stud business ran alongside Edward’s career as a jockey until he rode his final race at the age of 49 in 1986.
He and Sue retired from breeding thoroughbreds when they closed the stud in the 1990s.
"The last few years I’ve spent playing golf and tennis and keeping this place tidy,” he says.
Leaving the house will be a wrench, but moving will not be too much of an upheaval.
“The reason we’re building another house on our land is because we are really happy living here.
“I’ve never thought of leaving, even when I was working away.
“It’s lovely and quiet and we have beautiful scenery all around us and if we don’t sell the house then we’ll stay here.”
Low Farm, Huttons Ambo, near Malton is for sale through Chesterton Humberts for £695,000. Tel: 01904 611828, www.chestertonhumberts.com
BACK ON MARKET: Edward Hide with his wife Sue outside their home of 46 years at Low Farm, Huttons Ambo, near Malton.
RETIRED: Edward Hide, 72, was one of the 20th century’s most successful jockeys. He and his wife are downsizing from their five-bed home.