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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

News from England : Original Racing Trophies Stolen !!

Racing trophies snatched in raid on Brit Aristocrat's Country Manor !!

POLICE have released photographs of part of Newmarket's racing heritage stolen in a burglary at Lord and Lady Fairhaven's home near the town.

The original trophies given for the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas races were among antiques and other items believed to be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds taken from the couple's home at Kirtling Tower near Newmarket.

As reported in later editions of yesterday (Tuesday, 21 November)'s News, Lord Fairhaven, a former Jockey Club steward and chairman of Newmarket's National Horseracing Museum, said he and his wife were "extremely distressed" at the theft.

Detectives believe the raid could be linked with a burglary at top jockey Frankie Dettori's home in Stetchworth in August. The jockey's MBE, an Italian state award and various trophies were stolen while he was on holiday.

Lisa Hancock, managing director of Newmarket racecourses, said: "I am so sorry Lord Fairhaven, like Frankie Dettori, has suffered at the hands of thieves.

It's very sad indeed these trophies have been stolen.

"The 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas, which take place at Newmarket's NatWest Rowley Miles each spring, are Newmarket's most historic races. As they approach their 200th anniversaries their importance in the international flat racing calendar remains undiminished.

"I hope very much they will soon be recovered."

A lone burglar was disturbed by a member of Lord and Lady Fairhaven's staff. But he still managed to get away with a haul, which included antique silver candlesticks.

Police have appealed for anyone offered the historic cups or any other items in suspicious circumstance to contact them.

Det Sgt Chris Wilson, who is heading the inquiry, said: "Kirtling Tower is relatively isolated, but I would urge anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the area on Saturday evening to call police."

The trophies would only realise a fraction of their value if they were melted down.

Lord and Lady Fairhaven suffered a previous burglary at their family home at Anglesey Abbey, at Lode, when valuable antiques were taken. Anglesey Abbey is now a National Trust property.

Racing trophies stolen from widow

Thieves have stolen major racing trophies won by legendary National Hunt trainer Fred Rimell.

Burglars took Grand National and Champion Hurdle trophies from the home of Mr Rimell's widow in Ryall, near Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire.

Jewellery, including Mrs Rimell's engagement ring, were also stolen in the burglary on Monday evening.

The thieves ransacked rooms before they were disturbed. They are thought to have run off toward the River Severn.

Mr Rimell, who died in 1981, trained four Grand National winners, a feat only equalled this year by Ginger McCain.

He started his run of success with E.S.B. in 1956, then followed that up with Nicolaus Silver (1961), Gay Trip (1970) and Rag Trade (1976).

'Sentimental value'

Among the jewellery taken in the robbery were a diamond ring specially commissioned by Mr Rimell for his wife and a diamond brooch, in the shape of a horse, presented to Mrs Rimell by a grateful owner when her husband trained his horse to win the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Police said the thieves also took three equestrian trophies Mrs Rimell had won as a girl and which held "great sentimental value" to her.

A spokesman for south Worcestershire police, said: "We would very much like to hear from anyone who saw any unusual or suspicious activity in the vicinity of Ryall on Monday evening, or who spotted a car being driven away rapidly from fields, lanes or tracks near Ryall or the Severn at Upton.

Art Hostage comments:

The period leading up to Hanukkah/Christmas/Holidays is traditionally busy for the Brighton Antiques Mafia, now that the Johnson Gang are behind bars, this year will be extra busy, therefore we can expect more high value art and antiques thefts in the coming weeks.

These trophies will not be melted down, although the initial price paid to the burglars will be scrap value plus a small premium, the Brighton buyer will look to sell them on to a criminal venture capitalist, a Brighton Godfather, who will wrap them up, to be handed back at a later stage for a ransom, or other legal favours.

This whole criminal operation starts and finishes in Brighton, in the county of East Sussex, Southern England.

Upon another note, it will be interesting to see the timescale of recovery compared to that of the Goya stolen and recovered by the FBI Art Crime Team within a week.

Art Hostage recommends that The Philadelphia FBI Art Crime Team, headed by the supremely talented Robert Wittman, go to England and teach Brit law enforcement how to address high value art theft.

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