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Horse Articles :: Desert Orchid - Famous Race Horse
Desert Orchid - Famous Race Horse
The first article in this series looked at the famous race
horse Desert Orchid and the early part of his career. The
following article, which is part two of a three-part series,
looks at how he started the 1987 season through to his accomplishments
into the 1990s.
Dessie Starts A Rich Vein Of Form
This impressive and consistent form would lead Dessie nicely
into the 1987 season, with wins at Sandown and Wincanton in
February, followed by a decent run at Cheltenham in the two
mile chase, where he finished 3rd.
Dessie would then win three out of his next four runs, tasting
success at Ascot again, Wincanton and Kempton, but he would
miss out in the December, where he had been so successful
the previous year, achieving two second places. This was a
measure of the horse, as second places were now considered
Over the course of the 1988 and 1989 season, Desert Orchid
would run riot, producing a winning run that would begin to
create the legendary status that he go on to enjoy.
From 7 April 1988 until 16 March 1989, the beautiful grey
would win eight races on the spin (consecutively), starting
with victory in the Chivas Regal Cup Chase at Liverpool over
three miles and a furlong. This impressive run of wins would
take Dessie through Sandown, Wincanton, Sandown (again), Kempton,
Ascot and then Sandown (yet again!).
The run of eight wins culminated, perhaps fittingly, with
Dessie's magnificent victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, infront
of a packed crowd at Prestbury Park. In heavy conditions,
Dessie would prevail by one and a half lengths, ahead of Yahoo,
with Charter Party a further eight lengths back.
In all, Dessie's record was impressive, leading Time Form
to rate him as the fourth best national hunt horse of all
He won almost half of his 70 races, achieving 34 victories
whilst accumulating over half a million pounds of prize money
- a lot of money in those days.
Dessie's last victory came on 2 February 1991, fittingly at
Sandown, the venue for many of his successes.
His last two races were later that year. In November where
he showed the kind of professional style that was his hallmark,
finishing 3rd in the Peterbrough Chase at Huntingdon.
Dessie looked a tired horse in his final race on Boxing Day
however, and after struggling throughout, he fell three fences
And so his career ended as it had started... with a fall.
What had come in between however, was a spectacular, glittering
and thoroughly entertaining career that spanned 8 years.
He had captured both the attention and the imagination of
the horse racing public at large, with horse racing fans,
horse racing experts, broadcasters and everyone involved directly
in the industry, all seemingly hypnotised by this great horse.
But it didn't end there however. Desert Orchid, a great race
horse in the arena of competing for prize money on the National
Hunt stage, would also continue to be known for generating
money, but this time for charity.
The final article in this series will look at how this gentleman
of the race course contributed so much to those in need, as
well as him demonstrating his bravery once again.
Cliff Thurston is the owner of Grosvenor Racing Club, which
provides horse racing tips to its members. You can also read
his renowned horse racing blog for up to date views and news.
Cliff has also interviewed several high profile racing experts
and these can be accessed via his sites.Please visit http://www.grosvenor-racing-club.co.uk