I know I have mentioned him before. Four times winner of the King George VI Chase. He also won the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Irish Grand National, along with too many steeplechase stakes and handicaps to list, and several wins over hurdles. He was the National Hunt Horse of the Year four times. He won 34 out of 70 lifetime starts to earn over half a million pounds sterling in prize money. He won the Cheltenham Gold Cup by a length and a half on terrible going…despite hating the mud AND the left hand track.
He was retired after falling in the King George VI in 1991, his owners deciding he had ‘lost his racing edge’. A year later he survived life threatening surgery.
In retirement, he followed hounds in Leicestershire on numerous occasions. He made public appearances to raise thousands of pounds for charity, led the post parade many times.
His gray coat, impeccable jumping and utter enthusiasm for racing defined English steeplechasing for four seasons. He was the absolute image of what an English Thoroughbred should be, racing over the big obstacles for four years without being injured once and giving his best in every race he ran…and looking good doing it.
This morning, “Dessie” passed away in his stall. He was 27 years old. He will be buried at Kempton, and the first Desert Orchid Chase is scheduled for December 27.
He was an incredible horse and will be missed. They just don’t make many like that.