Horse racing is an ancient sport that has changed little since classical antiquity, the basic premise being that two or more horses compete to see who is the fastest over a set course or distance. Interest in the sport ranges from the joy of watching different horses and jockeys competing, to the economic benefit (gambling) that is associated with it.
The Chesterfield cup was one such leading race, which under a different name is still in existence today. The race includes horses that are four years old upwards and the race distance is one mile, one furlong and 192 yards. The race was first run in 1840 and was named after George Stanhope, the sixth Earl of Chesterfield. The Earl was a prolific gambler who loved horse racing and in fact won two Goodwood Cups as a racehorse owner.
The Chesterfield Cup was run at the Goodwood race track until 1969 and subsequently moved to the August meeting and was finally renamed the William Hill Cup, forming part of the Goodwood festival. The Grantham Auction rooms were pleased to sell a piece of history from this historic race in its February collective sale this year. Made by William Burwash and Richard Sibley in London in 1806, the saleroom offered for sale a silver twin handled trophy and cover, engraved Goodwood and verso Chesterfield Cup. The cup was decorated with laurel leaves with acanthus leaf handles and an acorn finial and leaf decorated lid; weighing 56.5oz and measuring 32cm high the impressive trophy made £1500 on saleday. While it was not known who won the race as the trophy was not presentation engraved, part of the joy for buyers of such items is researching the history of the piece and finding out the winning horse, jockey and owner.
A further racing trophy was sold by the Lincoln saleroom in 2017 and sold for £600 (LN160817 lot 1). The Victorian silver trophy for the Wicklow Lodge Cup Juvenile Races at Burrough Hill on 10th February 1887 was won by Mr JG Hills and the horse ‘Tommy’. Luckily in this case the trophy was presentation engraved.
Equestrian related items are frequently sold at auction, in particular relating to horse racing. Ranging from prints from artists such as Lionel Snaffles, George Stubbs and original works of art from local artist Vincent Haddelsey, cigarette cards and board games such as Escalado and Totopoly, if you have an interest in the sport or generally in equestrianism, there is a wide range of items available to facilitate this interest.