Thieves snatch 10 trophies in raid on horse racing HQ including Ascot gold vase

Thieves snatched 10 historic racing trophies from a Newmarket racing museum in the middle of the night.

The items stolen from the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art date back to the 1800s.

A reward of up to £50,000 is being offered for information leading to arrests in the case.

The trophies taken in the burglary on May 8 included those for the 1833 and 1838 Lincoln Races, the 1907 Chesterfield Cup, the Ascot gold vase, the King George, the Kings vase and the Santa Barbara.

The whereabouts of three Doncaster Cups, from 1906, 1907 and 1922, are also unknown.

Dr Steven Parissien, chief executive of the Palace House centre, said: "I am just saddened by this, the culprits were in the museum for just one minute and 46 seconds.

"They brought a battering ram and smashed the cabinets which had bulletproof glass to get the trophies out.

"At a time we are all supposed to be standing together during the coronavirus pandemic, it's very disappointing this has happened.

"They were wonderful pieces of art and so recognisable."

On July 28, the centre is set to reopen with a new look, featuring special exhibitions and family friendly areas.

In 2018 it was awarded £249,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Resilient Heritage pot.

Visitor numbers have topped 30,000 each year, three times as many as the old museum.

Dr Parissien added: "What has happened makes us more determined to make a success of the relaunch, it won't stop us at all."

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The centre, also backed by Forest Heath District Council, Suffolk County Council and the racing industry, is situated in the remains of Charles II’s sporting palace and stables.

Insurance company Fine Art Specie Adjusters said the reward is available if a successful tip-off is supplied.

A Suffolk Police spokesman confirmed the incident on May 8 was under investigation.

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