One of the most famous animal kidnapping cases the in the world took place in Ireland thirty years ago this Thursday.

Revered Irish racehorse Shergar was taken at gunpoint from Ballymany Stud in County Kildare on February 8, 1983, and never seen again.  Remains were never found, and what happened to the horse has never been known.

Shergar won the Espom Derby in England in 1981, romping home by ten lengths, which still remains the record for the longest margin of victory in the famous race. he was worth an estimated $50 million at stud.

The horse was much-loved and a celebrity in itself, and was a five-year old embarking on his second year out to stud when three armed men wearing masks   burst into Ballymany threatening the head groom Jim Fitzgerald and his family.

While there was a massive hunt for the horse and several different ransom requests were made, the horse was never seen or heard from again. Theories over who had kidnapped Shergar have been plentiful. Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the IRA, and the US Mafia have all been suggested.

Rumors abound that the horse was killed just a few hours after the abduction, but the true fate of the horse remains unknown.

What is known, however, is that the horse was a star on the track and at the center of one of the biggest crime mysteries in Ireland during the 1980s.
It is believed that an IRA gang took him at a time when kidnappings were plentiful. Speculation is that they were unable to handle the stallion and shot him before he ran wild on them.

Here is Shergar winning the Epsom Derby in 1981:

Ireland's most famous racehorse ShergarGoogle Images