And they would go: yes, somebody knows, but we have to move on, love, we dont want to talk about it. The odds shrank to 8/1: Baerlein warned that those odds would again halve if Shergar triumphed at the Chester Vase. Who Owns The Largest Horse Farm In Kentucky? A mystery man said he had information the horse was still alive and he could pinpoint where it was being held. Even then, the consensus was that if a ransom were paid, every racehorse in the country would become a potential target. He became a breeding stallion in Ireland with an impressive fertility rate, and still attracted crowds. And Walter was laughing. Chief Supt James "Spud" Murphy became the darling of the media for his bizarre pronouncements and his determination to use psychics and mediums to try to solve the case. An Irish councillor claims he had discovered the head of horse racing legend Shergar. Remains were never found, and what happened to the horse has never been known. Thieves stole a life-size statue of the triple Grand National winner, Red Rum, from a house in East Meon, Hampshire. But there was an important difference between the two. This vivid image of how Shergar died confirmed the worst fears of one of the most senior figures in Irish racing. Well, if youre not satisfied, came the reply. The IRA, in one of its most audacious plans, abducted the 1981 Derby winner from the Ballymany stud, in Co Kildare. . In a rare and exclusive interview last week, Mr Fitzgerald, now 78, frail and with a full head of white hair, quietly recalled the most terrifying moment of his life, as he was driven away from the stud by three armed men. Furthermore, a prominent Provo-supporting family used to live in the village of Aughnasheelan, three miles from Ballinamore, which is surrounded by deep bogs where a horse's body could easily be hidden. It remains the sporting world's most infamous unsolved crime: the theft and subsequent disappearance of legendary 'super-horse' Shergar. He was bred by the Aga Khan and sold for 10 million to an international syndicate when he was retired from racing. Some horses are treated similar to pets, kept for their companionship and entertainment value. Investors thought it was a licence to print money. But no contact was made. He was astonished to find it was pierced by two bullet holes. You can call me Arkle from now on, a voice told ITVs Derek Thompson when the phone eventually rang at 1.15 in the morning. 679215 Registered office: 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF. He said he had long suspected that the horse, in the hands of non-experts, had met a lingering death "crazed with pain". Many sources and investigators believe that he must be buried near Aughnasheelin, near Ballinamore, County Leitrim. The dark humour disguised the less palatable truth that Ireland, the Banana Republic, couldnt even cherish and safeguard one of the most gorgeous animals the world had seen. WebShergar has never been found. Shergar became a father for the first time a week ago when a bay colt [pictured top left on the newspaper page above] who looks remarkably like him was born at the Irish stud. "No horse deserves an ending like that - let alone one as special as Shergar. It is also unlikely that any provision was made for kidnapping in other insurance for the horse.". Alison stresses that the programme, which is screened next week on BBC One Northern Ireland, is a documentary, not an investigation, but it obviously required much research. The Provisional IRA, strapped for cash to fund its campaign, hatched a plan to kidnap the animal for ransom. His son, James, an insurance claims expert and a family friend, knowing of O'Callaghan's information on the kidnapping, went to visit him in jail in Northern Ireland and, even though he passed on letters saying Shergar was dead, these were not accepted as proof. Cigar lived out his retirement at the Kentucky Horse Parks Hall of Champions in Lexington. Swinburn was suspended, because of an infringement. Win a traditional Aran Sweater for Him & Her from Aran Woollen Mills, The Irish guests who'll attend Joe Biden's State of the Union Address tonight, Cork school group thankful after narrowly avoided Turkey earthquake. We also may change the frequency you receive our emails from us in order to keep you up to date and give you the best relevant information possible. Red Rum died on 18 October 1995, aged 30. I remember Willie Carson it was Willie he bumped said that it was nothing afterwards.. One of them, with the revolver, was very aggressive," Mr. Fitzgerald told the Telegraph about his ride in the kidnappers car. The bronze, a replica of a statue at Aintree, is worth pounds 10,000. There was lots of cussin' and swearin' because the horse wouldn't die. Tommy Foley, from Tralee in Co Kerry, said he found the remains of the stallion's skull last Saturday during an annual clean up of a glen outside the West Ireland town. The events of February 1983 threatened that ecosystem. Shergar was five years old and preparing for his second season as a breeding stallion when he was snatched from the Ballymany Stud in Co Kildare - just a stone's throw from The Curragh racetrack - on a foggy winter's evening. Then, after the Shergar fiasco, another supermarket boss, Don Tidey, was also kidnapped and a ransom demanded. . Rumors abound that the horse was killed just a few hours after the abduction, but the true fate of the horse remains unknown. In 2008 an investigation by the Sunday Telegraph claimed that within four days of being kidnapped and held at a remote farm senior IRA chiefs ordered the horse be released. His 306 foals went on to produce such legends as 1964 Derby and Preakness winner Northern Dancer, who himself sired 645 named foals; Mr. A former IRA member told the Sunday Telegraph: "Shergar was machine-gunned to death. During the 18 days Cleo sMITH spent being held in a home in Carnarvon in Western Australia, her hair had been completely changed by her abductor. 19-year-old English jockey Walter Swinburn on Shergar, after winning the Derby at Epsom, 3rd June 1981, Walter Swinburn wins the Derby on Shergar in 1981, Shergar, ridden by a 19-year-old Walter Swinburn, wins the Derby by 10 lengths at Epsom, 3rd June 1981, The Aga Khan leads Shergar in after his Derby win, Portrait of Shergar at his stables in Newmarket, England, taken in 1980, Walter Swinburn and Shergar made a formidable partnership. She spent months getting to know them. The hunt for Shergar created a huge media storm - everyone in the UK and Ireland were hell-bent on getting him back, and the Dublin police had offered an over $150,000 reward for his return. She lives in Newmarket in England. The man, who asked not to be identified, said only an expert should kill a horse - there is a spot the size of a thumb nail on the animal's head which the bullet, or humane killer, has to hit to prevent suffering. About 100 cameramen and journalists were in or outside the Europa Hotel as Thompson and his co-negotiators arrived. A week later, The Irish Times reported that a loaded magazine from a semi-automatic rifle was found near the outside wall of Ballymany Stud and recognised as the kind used by the Provisional IRA in south Armagh. The groom was blindfolded and forced to lie on the floor as the gang drove away. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh. Chief superintendent James Murphy, who is leading the kidnap hunt, said last night: "It was unbelievably easy. I found that really hard to understand. Swinburn would ride two other Derby winners but his surname and glittering career will always be associated with that of Shergar. Shortly after 8.30pm on February 8, 1983, Jim Fitzgerald, then 53, the head groom who lived at the stud, heard a knock on his door. The Begum Aga Khan with Shergar after his victory in the Irish Sweeps Derby at the Curragh on June 29th, 1981. They approached several locals, but each time was stonewalled when the conversation turned to the horse. They promised more details at noon Yesterday. Several owners are understood to have failed to win insurance payouts because, with no body ever found, there was no proof that the stallion was dead. . Tests carried out at the Irish Equine Centre, in County Kildare, found the skull belonged to a much younger horse than the racing legend was when he was abducted. Photograph: Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images. Scientific tests on a skull of a horse found in Ireland have ruled out the possibility that it was the remains of kidnapped racehorse Shergar. The remains of a Cherry Hill man reported missing by his family earlier this year were found by a hunter this week in a state park, authorities said.. Peter Myers, 68, Sadly still hasn't been found today just guessing. Once back home, Mr Fitzgerald found his family unharmed. After failed attempts to demand money for the stallion, gentle Shergar was brutally killed and his body was never found. Negotiations were conducted with the thieves, but the gang broke off all communication On the cold, muggy evening of February 8, 1983, Shergar was kidnapped by a gang of men in balaclavas, thought to be part of the IRA. By David Remnick. A source told the paper: "Shergar was machine gunned to death. "There is a possibility that it was him because when Shergar was abducted there was a Kerry connection.". The family was in Ireland and made a detour to Ballymany one afternoon for a quick visit. In February 1983, at the height of The Troubles, Ireland faced a truly mysterious crime that remains virtually unsolved. Searching For Shergar, the work of Erica Starling Productions, will be shown on Sunday at 8pm on BBC2 before being repeated in Ireland on RTE1 at 9.30pm on Tuesday. The IRA continued to pretend the horse was still alive. But I couldnt get my head around the horse, and it brought it back to the fact that there is a fear of somebody saying something that would get them in trouble. It was a very bloody death.". They demanded a 5m ransom from the syndicate owning the horse, which included the Aga Khan. A common belief is that Shergars remains are buried somewhere in that region of the country. I understand that. One idea is that the horse did have some sort of accident while in a frenzy, and the men killed him because they couldnt handle his crazed manner. He was a 25/1 shout for the Derby after trainer Michael Stoute decided to prepare him after his maiden season in 1980. "An operation of this intensity requiring this amount of manpower would have to have been authorised at a high level," he said. It was several hours before the Garda were informed, but by then there were no clues. Now, chief reporter Andrew Alderson has solved the mystery of Shergar's final hours, why his remains have never been found and uncovered the truth about the bungled ransom attempt that led to his demise. There was blood everywhere, and the horse even slipped on his own blood. In February 1983, WebShergar No one has ever admitted responsibility for the incident, and the remains of the horse have never been found. As the hunt for Shergar continued on both sides of the border, the gang's background was still a mystery. The most valuable horse in the world disappeared without trace. However, by then Mallon was under surveillance, the Garda were crawling all over Ireland and he felt it was impossible to move Shergar or free the horse close to where it was being held. "That's not a very nice thing to do," he said slowly, with typical Irish understatement, as he wiped a tear from the corner of his eye. And Walter was just an excellent horseman.. The next day, another call came through with the following message: The horse has had an accident. But last night, more than 24 hours after the raid, they had made no contact. All of this was reported by an international media fascinated by the lead investigator, Superintendent Jim Murphy, a trilby-wearing veteran with a laconic and highly quotable manner: They must be running into the 50 now, he said drily of the clairvoyants and physics who offered leads and dreams. From 31 crops to race, First Down Dash has sired 1,462 winners, which includes 258 stakes winners. By then, a silence had begun about Shergar that would stretch for four decades. "We are keen to find Shergar. They found the horse just as they imagined. Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the IRA, and the US Mafia have all been suggested. Those hairs would be invaluable DNA evidence if any remains of the animal are ever found. On Monday, August 8, 2022, an inmate in the Polk County Detention Center led the Polk County Sheriffs Office to skeletal remains in a shallow grave west of An Irish councillor claims he had discovered the head of horse racing legend Shergar. Now is the time to bet like men, he famously counselled. In an apparent bid to receive a pay out, jailed IRA informant Seon O'Callagan claimed the horse died within 24 hours. No horse has ever recorded a greater winning margin in the famous race. He's dead." Mr Foley, who used to enjoy betting on Shergar, said yesterday: "I found the skull in a sack hidden behind a rock in a dip. The Sunday Telegraph has been told that four days after Shergar was seized, and following extensive stalling by the Aga Khan's representative, the Army Council realised their equine "property" was worthless and told the gang to release the horse. Its impossible to buy. There are several ideas pertaining to what happened to Shergar. John Waynes Monument Valley Horseback Ride, Wyatt Earps Vendetta Ride Tombstone Arizona Territory. In February 1983, Shergar was kidnapped from his stable in Kildare, held for ransom, and brutally killed by his captors who havent been identified. of Shergar. Rather than leave the horse, they killed it. It was shortly after 8 pm when the son of Jim Fitzgerald, Shergars head groom that lived at the stud, heard a knock at the door. After driving him around for three hours, the kidnappers dumped Fitzgerald out of the car. Shergar's former jockey Walter Swinburn, who rode Shergar at his famous race, was distressed by the findings. Mr Foley said the remains were hidden in a sack at the bottom of a ditch. We want 2 million [ransom] for him," one said. A quarter of a century ago, the Ballymany Stud was shielded from the outside world by a five-bar wooden gate with a latch. It is still the sort of town where locals turn their heads when two British journalists walk into a pub. Seven of the most famous ranch and quarter horse bloodlines are Doc Bar, Driftwood, Two Eyed Jack, Joe Hancock, Playgun, Old Sorrel, and Peppy San Badger. The other IRA figure was Kieran Conway, a one-time intelligence chief of the organisation, who had rejoined the organisation after the 1981 hunger strikes. On the racecourse, as a two- and three-year-old, Shergar had been nothing short of sensational, winning the 1981 Derby by 10 lengths, a record distance that century for Britain's biggest flat race. The brass nameplate on Secretariats stall door will remain there. He was caught five miles away by fireman Andy Sheldrick. Horses are often Read more, Horsehair is used for the crafts of horsehair hitching, horsehair braiding, pottery, and in making jewelry items such as bracelets, necklaces, earrings and barrettes. Red Rum was passed from training yard to training yard until he found his footing with his new trainer McCain. Collectively it had been decided not to pay the ransom because they figured if they had, every racehorse in the world would be in danger, as many of them were worth over a million pounds (1.5 million dollars) and Ireland had lacked adequate security. Shergar was born in Kildare, Ireland in 1978. Thompson believed he kept the call going long enough to trace the location only to be told by police that the man who did their tracing had clocked off and headed home at midnight. Sadly, Liam died suddenly before the making of the programme, but Kathryn is in no doubt he would have loved working on it, using his many contacts to bring fresh perspective to the mystery. Even though the Troubles ended a decade ago we were advised "not to spend more than an hour there if you are asking awkward questions". WebShergar was stolen from the Aga Khan's stud farm by an armed gang on 8 February 1983. Foaled on March 3rd, 1978 at The Aga Khans stud at Sheshoon, Shergars dam, Sharmeen, was a descendent of Mumtaz Mahal, in turn the daughter of The Tetrarch, foaled at the Straffan stud in Kildare in 1911 and one of the most influential host lines of the last century. More importantly, he was also able to confirm a number of different details.". Police said the kidnappers did just that after driving away with their prize. Taking Shergar, the first title in the new series, Horses in History, examines this oft-discussed mystery in a new way. Kidnapped racehorse Shergar was the centre of a 2 million ransom mystery last night. All sorts of thoughts were racing through my head about what they might do to me. There was blood everywhere and the horse even slipped on his own blood. While there was a massive hunt for the horse and several different ransom requests were made, the horse was never seen or heard from again. He said the kidnappers had failed to make proper provision to look after the horse, which damaged a leg in a horsebox and proved impossible to control. The organisation would never admit culpability but Sean OCallaghan, the IRA commander and police informer, in interviews named those he said carried out the act. Mr Kehoe, a former Sinn Fein councillor, said he had not sued O'Callaghan because nobody believed him: "He was working for both sides - that's as much as you need to know about what he has to say.". Shergar, a beloved thoroughbred racehorse worth over $15 million, was kidnapped from his stable in County Kildare by a gang of machine gun-wielding men in balaclavas. She laughs at the memory before another thought occurs. The 10-length winning distance has never been bettered in a race that dates back to 1780. As racing fans prepare for this year's running of the Derby this afternoon, the name of Shergar is still remembered because of its record 10-length win in the race in 1981. "We have come for Shergar. In June 1981 he threw his stable lad and bolted during a workout at Newmarket. Bank robberies, or hold-ups of cash in transit, was becoming more and more difficult and a new strategy needed to be found. Our inquiries led photographer Julian Andrews and me to Ballinamore, a town in Co Leitrim once known as "the Falls Road of the South" because of its support for the Provos. Searching for Shergar, BBC One Northern Ireland, Thursday, June 7, Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, Please check your inbox to verify your details, I thought Id be hauled over the coals, but my boss suggested I see a doctor. Shergar was valued at 10million when he disappeared. The stud farm was Ireland's main racecourse and training grounds. Share your favorite stories with other history buffs in the IrishCentral History Facebook group. "The police from Dublin told me not to tell Murphy anything," Capt Berry said. His frightened family had followed kidnappers' orders to remain silent and it was 5 am yesterday before police were contacted. But on that day in June 1981, the pair owned the day. 35 foals. Some believe the IRA snatched the horse, as they were looking for new sources of funding around the same time. Love Irish history? "The Sun", "Sun", "Sun Online" are registered trademarks or trade names of News Group Newspapers Limited. "When you stripped away some of the veneer, you realised that there was very little underneath," she says. "When I saw the names he mentioned, I knew right away that what he was saying in the letters was right," she says. Or by navigating to the user icon in the top right. I had never been in the horse racing world before. Start your Independent Premium subscription today. "Two years earlier, supermarket owner Ben Dunne was kidnapped by the IRA and a ransom was paid. No-one has ever admitted the theft of Shergar. Last night police chief Mr Murphy appealed to the gang to return Shergar unharmed. But this turned out to be an elaborate hoax and the real negotiations were going on between. There was lots of cursing and swearing because the horse wouldnt die. It is then believed, and the claim is repeated in a documentary on BBC One in Northern Ireland on Thursday night, that the remains were buried in a bog. Where is the animal buried? Along with Kathryn, they have obtained information from seven or eight sources that the remains of the iconic thoroughbred lie in a bog in Co Leitrim. Native Dancer became so popular that his blood began to dominate the Thoroughbred breed. The stallion had a white blaze mark on his face, four white "socks" and a distinctive racing style of running with his tongue hanging out - he was gentle, calm and kind. He rang the stud manager, Ghislain Drion, who then phoned Shergar's vet, Stan Cosgrove, who had also bought a share in the horse. Co Leitrim, which even now has a population of just 26,000, has kept many secrets during the 30 years of the Troubles. Stan Cosgrove presented himself but with the hotel heavily staked by plain clothes police officers, no kidnappers appeared. And finally being able to touch all that remains of the wonder horse apart from memories - a little bunch of hairs plucked from its mane and tail shortly before it was kidnapped and given to two young visitors who came to photograph Shergar one day. It changed my life, How King Charles III survived threats posed by nationalism on both sides of the Irish Sea, It tastes foul. Shergar, scheduled to cover up to 55 mares a year, has put 42 of his first 44 mares in foal. "Conway was able to confirm to me that these were not coincidental events, but part of a strategy by the Provisional IRA to raise much-needed money for arms. The plot, hairbrained as it turned out, was to gain a ransom for the record-breaking Epsom Derby winner. They have narrowed the field, in a manner of speaking, down to a small townland called Aughrasheeling, not far from Ballinamore, and less than 10 miles from the Northern Ireland border. Then How many races did Shergar lose? To see all content on The Sun, please use the Site Map. 1 Ruffian. Shergar won at a canter and the chief anticipation at Epsom was whether the sensational three-year-old and his young jockey would handle the enormous expectation. Two armed men forced their way into the house. It was the time of horse sales in the area and the roads were full of horseboxes. Did They Trade Horses In The Columbian Exchange? the gang and the Aga Khan. Shergar won the Espom Derby in England in 1981, romping home by ten lengths, which still remains the record for the longest margin of victory in the famous race. He is the majority shareholder in the syndicate, which also includes trainer Vincent O'Brien and leading owner Robert Sangster. Other members of the gang backed up a van. There was lots of cussin' and swearin' because the horse wouldn't die. Jubilee Farm: The sanctuary in Larne helping refugees and asylum seekers, Life as a pet dog photographer: My rescue dog saved me, now Ive turned my passion into a business, What is Prime Hydration? Instead, they were dealing with a syndicate, most of whose insurance policies covered theft. Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies. Forty years on, the taking of Shergar remains such a bizarre and shameful episode in Irish history that it only makes sense when set against the lush scenes and ecstatic cheering of his immortal season. He was buried at the winning post of the Aintree Racecourse, which is still a destination for his fans. The Sun website is regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), Our journalists strive for accuracy but on occasion we make mistakes. But he wanted his champion to stand at his Irish stud. . It is speculated that he is likely buried on the property of an IRA veteran, which would make gaining approval or permission to dig for remains almost impossible. O'Callaghan suggested the horse had thrown itself into a frenzy, injured a leg and that it was put out of its misery and "was killed within days even though the IRA kept up the pretence that he was alive". With an intense garda hunt taking place across the country and the ransom process now a shambles, a decision was made to end the operation. "After that, it was just a case of old-fashioned walking up laneways and knocking on doors and trying to track down people who had some connection with the case. They contained names of people in the racing industry, which I knew were accurate from my own research, and that gave me great confidence in what he was saying. Now, however, an investigation by The Sunday Telegraph to mark the 25th anniversary of the horse's kidnapping finally solves the puzzle of Shergar's final hours, why his remains have never been found and how the Garda, the Irish police, bungled their investigation. Instead, Mallon ordered that the horse be shot. I received various messages after the film and all sorts of controversial theories afterwards that I was emailed. They insisted on dealing only with the Aga Khans office in Paris. and the rest are nowhere. At his home, Jim Fitzgerald was dismayed when I broke the news about exactly how the horse he had cared for had died. Cosgrove didnt doubt this was Shergar but it was impossible to tell if the horse was even alive. Eventually, he walked to the next village and rang his brother. "There were two bullet holes in the head and it was definitely a racehorse's head," he said. And he came up to Walter and he grabbed his jacket. In February 1983, Shergar was kidnapped from his stable in Kildare, held for ransom, and brutally killed by his captors who havent been identified. But I couldnt understand why the way we talk about silence and fear in relation to the past on this island extended to this horse. He was ordered to point out Shergar's box. By day four, an impasse had been reached. Most domesticated horses in the world today are used to ride and to do farm or ranch work. "He was a gentleman and he even gave us his mobile telephone number. Walter Swinburn on Shergar after his runaway victory in the Epsom Derby in 1981. The Aga Khan, Shergars owner, sent the horse for training in Britain in 1979 and 1980. "I was there with a farmer's son and he said it was not an ordinary horse.". He proved infertile as a stallion, as none of the 34 mares bred to him became pregnant. She draws out of her handbag during our interview a horseshoe given to her by the retired farrier who used to shoe Shergar every month. He was out on the paddock with some bullocks. They lived in that other world.. For other inquiries, Contact Us. Hes with his father Wally; boyish, serious, not remotely fazed. One of them, with the revolver, was very aggressive," said Mr Fitzgerald, at his end-of-terrace home in Newbridge, just three miles from the stud. If they had wanted to steal a horse, they couldnt have found a kinder horse,' said Doreen Swinburn. A convicted killer from Co. Tyrone, he eventually became part of IRA folklore after shooting his way out of one prison and being lifted by helicopter from another. In the wake of the kidnapping, he was the victim of a scam in which the Garda appears not to have been blameless and which cost him many thousands of pounds. The question you have to ask is: why else would anyone use a pistol to shoot a racehorse? Mallon, a convicted killer originally from Co Tyrone, eventually became part of IRA folklore after shooting his way out of one prison and being lifted by helicopter from another. The Boomtown Rats released Banana Republic. The lad with me is a farmer's son, and he knew immediately that the skull came from a racehorse. An armed gang who stole Shergar, winner of the 1981 Derby from the Aga Khan's Irish stud on Tuesday night told a captive groom at the time that they would be demanding 2 million for his safe return. ricardo garcia obituary,