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Rataplan's memory is well preserved; Racing people.

CURATORS at an English Heritage site in Yorkshire were recently surprised by the delivery of a pair of mummified horse's hooves to add to their racing collection, including the Doncaster Cup, which Rataplan won in 1855.

The hooves were once the front feet of Rataplan, a famous 19th century thoroughbred stallion, to whom many racing greats can trace their lineage.

The hooves had been preserved as a momento by the horse's groom Edward Horn shaw since Rataplan had been put down in old age, and had remained in his family until now.

Jessie Hall, 82, Horn shaw's great granddaughter, passed them back to the home of Rataplan's original owner, Charles Thellusson, explaining: "Some of the younger members of the family don't want a pair of mummified feet on their mantlepiece, so we decided to donate them to English Heritage for other people to enjoy."

Despite being a lazy horse, prone to lying in his box, Rataplan won 42 of 82 races, including the Ascot Gold Vase, and was placed in both the St Leger and Derby. Rataplan retired to a stud in Sand beck, near Rotherham, where Horn shaw worked.

Accompanying the hooves on display at Brods worth Hall, near Doncaster, is a book of sketches by Horn shaw's son, Thomas, including one of Rataplan, and the seal used to stamp the stud papers of foals sired by the stallion.

Caroline Carr-Whitworth, Brods worth Hall's curator, said: "It does seem slightly bizarre to keep mummified horse's hooves, but it was a way of remembering a much loved and prized racehorse.

"Now we have these truly remarkable mementos and discovered more about Rataplan, and where he ended his career."

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Two very distinguished hooves
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 29, 2008
Words:284
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