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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 disappointments.

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.

Dessie's Record

In all, Dessie's record was impressive, leading Time Form to rate him as the fourth best national hunt horse of all time.

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 out.

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.

About Author:
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










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