It could easily be described as horse heaven. It is 567 hectares of prime agricultural land and has been a name synonymous with the history of the thoroughbred business for over 110 years, located in the heart of the Hunter Valley.

Segenhoe Stud
With a $40 million price tag, only a select group of potential buyers would be in the market to buy Segenhoe Stud. (Photo: Donovan + Co).

Your nearby neighbours are Newgate, Vinery and Darley, home to stallions famous across Australia and the world. Thirteen Group 1 winners have been raised on its soil in the past decade alone. It is Segenhoe Stud, and it could be yours*.

*for a lot of money

As sure as the Hunter River flows through the property, so has success, with the Maloney family having purchased Segenhoe in 2010 and substantially expanded it.

Kevin Maloney, chairman of Tulla Group, built an empire through his various interests, including providing prefabricated accommodation for the mining industry.

His horse breeding enterprise, through Segenhoe, has been overseen since 2013 by Peter O’Brien. It has been his passion but has also been phenomenally successful. Not only has it produced stars on the track, but also in the sales ring with 10 seven-figure yearlings in 2024 alone.

Now, after months of conjecture, Maloney has opted to put Segenhoe Stud on the market. Kind of.

An expression of interest process, co-ordinated by noted equine property agent and Magic Millions auctioneer Clint Donovan, is underway with offers to be received by early July.

Maloney is canvassing for offers which are too good to refuse, but there is no published sale price on the 567 hectares.

The ‘finger-in-the-air’ price is $40 million, but the expectation is that it might take a bit north of that to convince Maloney is it worth the effort.

So who could buy the famous stud, so well located in thoroughbred heartland? Well, a price tag like that makes it a fairly select group.

1. Newgate

Look to the nearest neighbour. The ambitious outfit, led by Henry Field, has made a major mark on the Australian thoroughbred scene after just over a decade of existence. It purchased its current headquarters, then known as Brooklyn Lodge Stud, in 2013, and has transformed it into a Hunter Valley centrepiece which will host 17 stallions in 2024.

Newgate has leased other operations for its breeding interests. Its lease on Wakefield Stud expired this month after that farm was sold to Middlebrook Valley Lodge, while it has a long-term arrangement at Edinglassie Stud. Newgate’s motto is It’s Possible, so even at such a significant price tag, it would not be unreasonable to think it could be in the mix.

2. Yulong

No current discussion of major thoroughbred investment in Australia is complete without mentioning Yulong. Yuesheng Zhang’s Victorian-based outfit has invested more in Australian bloodstock in the past five years than anyone, and it has excellent farm facilities.

It reportedly added Islay Vale, a 175-hectare farm located about 10km south of Nagambie in the Goulburn Valley, to its portfolio earlier this year.

Rumours were doing the rounds two months ago that Yulong was set to secure a foothold in the Hunter Valley with the private purchase of Segenhoe. Accounts differ as to the precise details, but they all ended with a divided opinion between the parties on what it was worth. Could Zhang come back with another offer? He certainly has the means, but does he have the motivation?

3. John Camilleri

Most famous in racing circles as the breeder of Winx, Camilleri’s Fairway Thoroughbreds has been one of Segenhoe’s biggest clients for over a decade thanks to his close relationship with Peter O’Brien. Camilleri’s best mares are resident on the farm.

Both he and Maloney are men of considerable wealth and strong opinions but haven’t always seen eye to eye.

Camilleri built his estimated $1 billion-plus wealth initially through his Baiada Poultry enterprise, and then parlayed that into property development. While much of his success in this area has been on the fringes of Sydney, just last month, one of his companies purchased Pacific Point on the Gold Coast from Aquis boss Tony Fung. That site was worth $24 million in 2016 with the recent value undisclosed.

So Camilleri has the means, if he wanted to, to buy Segenhoe, it would just be a matter, like Yulong, of having the motivation.

4. Coolmore

Coolmore secured its place in the Hunter Valley in 1990 when it purchased its Jerrys Plains property via a subsequently soured business relationship with Arrowfield. Arrowfield held the lease on the farm until 1995, and a year later Coolmore moved in. Since then, it has been an Australian powerhouse, and the entire Coolmore farm is over 3,500 hectares.

But it has looked to expand its options, and just last year, principal Tom Magnier purchased the former Strawberry Hill Stud from John Singleton on the NSW Central Coast to set up as a spelling and pre-training farm.

While Coolmore’s facilities at Jerrys Plains are world-class, they are some 40km from where Segenhoe is located in the middle of the Hunter. They have also fought ‘tooth and nail’, Magnier’s own words, against the expansion of the Maxwell underground coal mine expansion in the land surrounding Jerrys Plains.     

5. Overseas interests

A property as blue-chip as Segenhoe is always going to court international interest, with a host of investors seeing it as an opportunity to enter the local market.

One of these could be John Stewart, the private equity tycoon, who was the underbidder of the Winx filly at Easter and has spent $8.6 million on both yearlings and broodmares in Australia in the past two months. He has talked a big game and a high-profile farm purchase in Australia would be a major statement.  

It hasn’t just been bloodstock Stewart has been buying. He recently purchased Shadwell’s former Shadiyad Stud in Kentucky, which he renamed Resolute Farm, for what was reported to be US$17 million.