Prizes from two of the world's leading horse races recall past glories as bidders gather to compete for them

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Prizes from two of the world's leading horse races recall past glories as bidders gather to compete for them
Ascot Gold Cup. Photo: Noonans.

LONDON.- The 1877 Ascot Gold Cup – the prize for one of the world’s most prestigious flat racing events – is to be offered for sale with an estimate of £100,000-120,000 at Mayfair Auctioneers Noonans in a sale of Selected Silver and Objects of Vertu on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 at 12 noon.
Alongside the magnificent gold trophy will be the 1922 Grand National Trophy silver centrepiece, which is expected to sell for between £20,000-30,000. Both trophies come from a leading private collector.
Frances Noble, Associate Director and Head of Jewellery at Noonans commented: “The Ascot Gold Cup was established in 1807 as the most prestigious prize in flat racing. The 1877 trophy is an impressive 18 carat gold vase-shaped trophy centrepiece, the cover crowned by a finial of a rearing stallion attended by a classical youth, standing 47.5cm in height. Its magnificence recalls the glory days of Victorian horse racing when wealthy landowners and the aristocracy dominated the turf.” In this instance the owner was the young St George Henry Lowther, later 4th Earl of Lonsdale, (1855-82), a keen student of racing from his youth who bought Petrarch, a promising three-year-old bay colt, from Viscount Dupplin in 1876.
Earlier that year Petrarch had won two of the three Triple Crown events, the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket and the St Leger at Doncaster. Only the prestigious Derby had eluded him, although he had been the favourite. He also won the Prince of Wales’ Stakes, making him the leading British money winner of the season.
As Frances Noble adds: “Petrarch was to continue his winning streak under his new owner, culminating in The Ascot Gold Cup in 1877. The 2 mile, 3 furlongs and 210 yards event at that time was considered the most important race in the world, in terms of the weight-for-age rules for thoroughbreds.”
Petrarch had been the even money favourite for the race and won by four lengths, after the celebrated jockey Tom Cannon had to whip him to keep him racing at one point. The day was also notable for the Royal presence of the Princes Albert Victor and George (later George V) at their first race meeting. Petrarch was retired the following year and went on to sire classic winners.

1878 also saw Lowther succeed to the Earldom, which he held for a mere five years before succumbing to illness at the age of just 28.
Royalty also attended the 1922 Grand National at Aintree, the world’s greatest steeplechase at 4 miles and 2.5 furlongs. Prince Albert, the Duke of York (later George VI) and Prince Henry (later Duke of Gloucester), were there to see Hugh Kershaw’s nine-year-old hunter Music Hall win by 12 lengths at odds of 100/9.
It was a particularly challenging race, with only five finishers in the field of 32 horses, after the favourite Southampton fell at the first fence, with many others being obstructed by another horse Sergeant Murphy in an accident at the Canal Turn.
The important 46cm high Grand National silver trophy is inscribed: ‘GRAND NATIONAL 1922 WON BY MR HUGH KERSHAW'S MUSIC HALL (AGED) 11ST 8LBS. MARCH 24. 1922. RIDDEN BY L.B. REES’. It is offered for sale together with a signed and dated large oil on canvas portrait of the winning horse and rider by Cecil Wilson from 1922, a signed and dated watercolour of the victor passing the winning post, the winning jockey’s framed silks and a framed and glazed horseshoe bearing the inscribed plaque: ‘MR HUGH KERSHAW’S ‘MUSIC HALL’ WINNER OF THE GRAND NATIONAL MARCH 24th 1922’. The estimate is £20,000-30,000.
“In terms of racing history and the elite of Victorian society, it doesn’t get any better than The Ascot Gold Cup,” said Noonans’ chairman and CEO Pierce Noonan. “The 1922 Grand National Trophy is the perfect accompaniment to create an unrivalled racing offering at auction, and it certainly provides the opportunity to acquire the finest racing trophies without the expense of having to train the horse and win the race in the first place!”
Other racing trophies in the sale include the 1823 Lincoln Gold Cup (estimate £4,000-5,000) and the 1901 King’s Cup trophy for the Royal Yacht Squadron Regatta at Cowes (£4,000-5,000).

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