Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Mysterious kidnap of Shergar – £10 million racehorse who was never found

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He was one of the world’s most famous racehorses, known for his extraordinary speed and strength, but the mystery of Shergar’s disappearance has long since eclipsed his racing achievements

The thoroughbred racehorse was kidnapped 40 years ago(Getty Images)

He was regarded as one of the greatest racehorses on Earth, known for his strength, speed, and good nature – but Shergar’s fate will perhaps always remain a mystery.

Foaled in 1978, the thoroughbred bay colt racehorse became a household name after winning the Epsom Derby in June 1981 by a colossal 10 lengths, the longest margin in racing history ever recorded by an unknown rookie.

This victory was quickly followed by impressive wins at both the Irish Sweeps Derby and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, with Shergar outrunning his competition by four lengths each time.

In that very same year, Shergar was declared European horse of the year, with his worth sitting at approximately £10 million. Meanwhile, his stud fees went for as much as £80,000, with breeders keen to raise and race the offspring of the decorated horse.

Shergar was regarded as a ‘national hero’(Hulton Archive)

As previously reported by the website Historic Mysteries, equestrian writer Milton Toby described Shergar as “a national hero in Ireland”, hailing the thoroughbred as “one of the most recognisable sports personalities—horse or human—in Ireland.”

When his billionaire owner Aga Khan decided to retire him at the age of three – to ensure his good stats remained intact – the beloved horse was given a hero’s welcome before being brought to Ballymany Stud Farm, County Kildare, paraded before admiring fans.

Sadly, gentle Shergar did not get the happy ending he deserved, and, shortly before 8pm on February 8, 1983, the five-year-old horse was kidnapped from his stable in Kildare, just as he was preparing for his second breeding season.

Shergar was kidnapped from his stable by four armed thieves(Getty Images)

Head groom James FitzGerald had been relaxing at home with his wife and children when four armed kidnappers broke in and forced him to bring them to Shergar, who they loaded into a trailer.

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