Desert Orchid stars in new Royal Mail stamp collection

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  • Steeplechasing superstar Desert Orchid will feature in the Royal Mail’s 2017 special stamp collection.

    The iconic grey is included in the “Racehorse Legends” category for April, along with eight other top thoroughbreds.

    “The stamp set features original artwork of eight champion horses achieving their greatest wins on UK racecourses over six decades,” said a statement from Royal Mail.

    It will include four Flat racers and four National Hunt horses in action en route to one of their major wins.

    “Dessie” is pictured on course at the Cheltenham Festival as he heads towards his win in the 1989 Gold Cup, partnered by Simon Sherwood.

    A spokesman told H&H that they will reveal the names of the other horses “closer to the release date of the stamps”.

    Royal Mail’s 2017 collection has an overarching “Best of British” theme, with each month focusing on a different area.

    Starting with ancient Britain in January, the other categories are Windsor Castle, songbirds, windmills and watermills, First World War: 1917, landmark buildings, classic toys and Christmas.

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    Desert Orchid

    Bred by James Burridge, the son of Grey Mirage won 34 races during his 10-year career, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup, four King George VIs, the Irish Grand National and the Whitbread Gold Cup.

    The much-loved steeplechaser was trained by David Elsworth and after his retirement from the race track, spent much of his time attending charity events.

    He was adored by the public, and even had a 1,000-strong official fan club, which was run by co-owner the late Midge Burridge.

    In 1992, one year into his retirement, he suffered a severe bout of colic and was given just a 10% chance of survival.

    But Dessie recovered and went on to live to the age of 27, when he died peacefully in his stable at home in 2006.

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