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Top 5 horse racing memorabilia ever sold

We look at five of the most important pieces of horse racing memorabilia to change hands

Paul Fraser Collectibles,Tuesday 25th March 2014

Fancy a punt on the horses? Here's a tip with a difference.

Horse racing memorabilia is a buoyant branch of the collectibles market, thanks to the rich history of the sport.

"The key to establishing a valuable horse racing memorabilia portfolio is to choose the most notable horses, jockeys and events on which to base your collection," explains Paul Fraser, founder of Paul Fraser Collectibles.

"Champion horses - such as Red Rum - are famous around the world and therefore your chances of selling your items at a profit are greatly increased."

With that in mind, let'slook atthe most important sales of horse racing memorabilia of recent times.

1. Red Rum racing plate - 6,950

Red Rum was wearing this shoe when he galloped to victory in the 1977 Grand National - Image: Paul Fraser Collectibles

Red Rum's victory in the 1977 Grand National - his unprecedented third triumph - was voted the 24th greatest sporting moment of all time in a 2002 UK poll.

The intensity of the Grand National, with itsoversized fences and mammoth four mile and three furlongs distance, puts tremendous strain on the horse - making Red Rum's triple win all the more remarkable.

Red Rum was and is a national hero - his image endlessly reproduced in advertising and on merchandise. He even switched on the Blackpool illuminations in 1977.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has one of the racing plates (horse shoes to the uninitiated) he wore for his third triumph, with an asking price of 6,950 ($11,461).

2. Shergar Derby silks - 7,500

Walter Swinburn wore these silks for Shergar's 1981 victory - Image: Graham Budd Auctions

Jockey Walter Swinburn wore thesesilks when he rode the great Shergar to victory in the Derby at Epsom in 1981 - famously winning the race by 10 lengths, a winning margin that remains unmatched.

In 1983, Shergar - by now earning his money as a sire - was stolen from the Balmanny Stud in County Kildare by a gang of armed men and held to ransom.It is thought he was killedin the days, or even hours, that followed. The identity of the gang members remains a mystery, as does the location of Shergar's body.

The incredible story led to the silks achieving 7,500 ($12,600)in 2008.

3. Doncaster Cup trophy- 32,450

The Doncaster Cup is the world's oldest running regulated horse race - Image: Christie's

The Doncaster Cup hasrun continuously since 1766 - making it the oldest regulated horse race still in existence.

The course stretches two miles and two furlongs, making it a key event in the Stayers' Triple Crown.

The trophy from the 1783 running made 32,450 ($54,500)in 2012, a figure that attests to its importance in the history of British racing.

4. Ascot enclosure gates - 280,000

These gates stood at the entrance to the winner's enclosure at Ascot - Image: Graham Budd Auctions

These gates once stood at the entrance to the winner's enclosure at Ascot, considered hallowed ground by racing fans since 1807.

It was here that generations of victorious horses and riders received the adulationof the crowds, leading to unforgettable moments like Frankie Dettori's flying dismount after his "magnificent seven" in 1996.

It's why they sold for 280,000 ($470,380)in 2005.

5. George Stubbs' Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath - 22.4m

George Stubbs is regarded as one of the greatest horse painters - Image: Christie's

Famous equine artist George Stubbs' rendering of the diminutive but courageous Gimcrack is a high point in the genre. The 1765 work auctioned for 22.4m (37.6m) in 2011, a record for both the artist and horse art.

Gimcrack makes a worthy subject. He won 27 of 36 races in a seven-year career during the 1760s and 1770s.

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