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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - One of the most famous jump racing trophies in the world, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, has been stolen from a house in central England, police said on Wednesday.
The simple but elegant 10oz gold bowl, valued at 60,000 pounds ($90,000), is minted each year and awarded to the winning owner, for whom the cup is priceless. No original cup exists.
"It's a little bit of history that has fallen into the wrong hands," said Andy Clifton, communications manager at Cheltenham racehorse where the annual blue riband event is held.
"Alongside the Grand National it is probably the jump racing trophy that most owners would like to get their hands on."
Burglars forced their way into the house in Wormington, near Cheltenham, in the early hours of Wednesday and took several other trophies, including the Challenge Cup and the Britannia Handicap Cup, as well as bronze and silver items worth a total of 150,000 pounds, police said.
They are not disclosing the name of the owner, but said this particular Gold Cup was won several years ago.
"It's a prize they would cherish ... the highlight of their ownership career," said George Primarolo, spokesman for Totesport, which has sponsored the race since 1979.
Previous winning chasers have included Kauto Star and Mill House.
The royal family are keen horserace goers, and the Cheltenham Festival was a particular favorite of the late Queen Mother, although she never managed to carry off the main prize.
Writing by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Steve Addison