Celebrity racehorse Desert Orchid will be making a guest appearance for the BBC’s Children In Need appeal this month

Racing legend, Desert Orchid, will be helping to launch the BBC’s Children in Need appeal at an Arab racehorse meeting at Stratford on 15 September.

The big grey won the heart of the nation during his 10-year career as a steeplechaser, winning some of the biggest jump race challenges, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup, a record four King George VI chases, the Irish Grand National and the Whitbread Gold Cup.

Since his retirement in 1991, he’s raised thousands of pounds for charity and still draws big crowds, according to part-owner, Midge Burridge.

“Muchof his charity work this year has been cancelled because of foot-and-mouth, but Dessie is having a very busy September,” she said.

“His health is still extremely good, he’s ridden every day and can still take a tremendous hold.”

“Dessie is 22 now, but in his mind he’s still a youngster – he leads the youngsters on the gallops when he goes to stay with his old trainer, David Elsworth.

“He’s also very bossy – with other horses and people. But he’s amazing with children and loves being the centre of attention at the events he goes to.”

The afternoon at Stratford will feature Desert Orchid, ridden by Colin Brown, a celebrity jockey race and races for pure and Anglo Arabs.

For more details, contact (tel: 01672 521213).

Dessie opens equine care unit

Desert Orchid will also be the celebrity guest at the opening of a new equine care unit at the Horses and Ponies Protection Association’s rescue centre at Shores Hey Farm, Burnley, Lancashire on 9 September.

Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch, meet Dessie, and take the opportunity to look around the farm.

For more details contact (tel: 01282 455992).