Charities to benefit from quality lots at fundraising lunch
Next Thursday's Sir Peter O'Sullevan annual charity fundraising awards lunch is expected to be the most successful yet, with the 1974 Triumph Hurdle commentary chart, complete with notes from 'the voice of racing', likely to prove the star lot.
The 1974 Triumph Hurdle was won by O'Sullevan's Attivo, and the commentary chart is one of the most personal pieces of memorabilia ever auctioned at the fundraising lunch, which is now in its 20th year and has to date raised nearly £4.5 million for charity.
Last year's prize lot at £32,000 was a commentary chart of the 1977 Grand National, in which Red Rum created history by winning the race for a third time, but charitable trust administrator Nigel Payne believes the connection between the late O'Sullevan and Attivo could make the 1974 Triumph Hurdle memorabilia even more valuable.
"It was the race where Peter called his own horse, Attivo, as the winner and it comes with his own notes, which makes it even more personal," Payne said. "If you were looking for something that was Peter, this would be it. It might just be the top lot we've ever had. It really is very special."
A sterling silver sculpture of Frankel created by Charlie Langton is also expected to take high rank, while a bronze sculpture of Red Rum, created by Philip Blacker and presented to O'Sullevan to celebrate his 50th Grand National commentary, will also prove popular.
Payne added: "I think the silver Frankel, which is a limited edition of three by Charlie Langton, will do very well. When you take into account the quality of the piece along with Charlie's reputation, and the fact it is just one of three, I would be disappointed if it didn't raise £30,000.
"The Red Rum statue is also amazing. It is a beautiful bronze statue and Peter treasured it dearly."
A total of £148,000 was equally divided among Blue Cross, The Brooke, Compassion in World Farming, World Horse Welfare, Racing Welfare and the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre last year but Payne believes that closer to £200,000 could be raised this time such is the quality of lots on offer.
The event takes place at the Dorchester Hotel in London next Thursday and has been typically well supported.
"I would be hoping to raise close to £200,000," Payne said. "That's the target as there is a very good selection of lots this year.
"We have 480 going and it is a total sellout. There's not been one drop-out. It's marvellous that it has been so well attended and I think they are doing it for Peter."
Also included among the ten lots are a money-can't-buy VIP visit to Ballydoyle and Coolmore, a Dubai World Cup trip with a stay in a five-star hotel and a portrait of John Gosden, who is being honoured at the lunch and joins an illustrious list of award winners including Sir Anthony McCoy, Sir Henry Cecil and Lord Oaksey.