Born 11th April 1979, Desert Orchid was a much-loved horse that took part in various races. An English racehorse known affectionately as Dessie, it was long seen as an iconic part of the British horseracing scene. With a front-running and aggressive style, Dessie was loved by all who watched him ride. Known for his quality and determination as much as anything else, Dessie was a versatile horse who carried out an incredible range of feats on the track.
Across a stellar career, Desert Orchid enjoyed four different jump jockeys on its back: Colin Brown, Richard Linley, Simon Sherwood and Richard Dunwoody. Brian Rouse also had the pleasure of riding Dessie on its one and only flat race.
In a stellar career, the horse picked up an incredible number of honors. From the 1984 Tolworth Hurdle win through to its final victory at the Irish Grand National in 1990, Dessie picked up an incredible sum of wins and success.
Arguably one of the greatest moments, though, came during the 1989 Victor Chandler Handicap Chase. Taking on four incredible rivals, Orchard fell and then managed to carry out an incredible comeback, defeating Panto Prince – the top-rated horse of the race, arguably – by a full head.
It also took part at the Cheltenham Gold Cup where it incredibly fought through terrible conditions and taking on a 3 mile course, as opposed to a 2 mile course. It came from back to defeat Yahoo in the late race stages, and it was cheered by thousands of fans at the end of the race. The race was voted the best ever by Racing Post fans, too!
Desert Orchid sadly passed on Monday 13th November, 2006. A stellar career, it was honored with the now-loved Desert Orchid Chase event.