Three-time Grand National winner Red Rum has been revealed as one of the horses featured in the Royal Mail’s “Racehorse Legends” series.
Steeplechasing superstar Desert Orchid was the first racehorse of the series to be announced when the themes for the 2017 special stamp collections were made public in January.
He has now been joined by fellow equine superstars Red Rum, Frankel, Shergar, Kauto Star, Desert Orchid, Brigadier Gerard, Arkle and Estimate.
Equestrian painter Michael Heslop created the artwork for the stamps.
“I started painting racehorses a long, long time ago,” he said. “The reason I wanted to paint racehorses is, for an artist they have everything; you paint form, you can paint movement.
“In that one image you’ve got horseflesh and you’ve got the silks of the jockey. Everything in that one image — that is really, really worth painting.”
The stamps go on sale today (6 April) and can be bought from 7,000 Post Office branches or at www.royalmail.com/racehorselegends
Racing journalist and former jockey Brough Scott added: “British Racing has been going on for almost as long as the Royal Mail and it is great for it to be recognised in this way.”
A replica Royal Mail coach and horses is also attending the Randox Health Grand National today and tomorrow (6-7 April).
“Racing is a British passion, and we pay tribute to eight legendary horses that have proven their greatness on UK racecourses and won the affection of the public,” said Philip Parler, Royal Mail’s stamp strategy manager.
Unbeaten in any of his 14 starts, Flat legend Frankel’s highlights include the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in 2011 and the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2012. He retired to stud in October 2012, following his win in the Champion Stakes at Ascot.
Red Rum (1965-1995)
This year marks four decades since Red Rum won his third Grand National. Trained by Ginger McCain, he won the iconic race in 1973, 1974 and 1977, finishing second on both his other attempts in 1975 and 1976.
Trained by Michael Stoute, Shergar won five consecutive races as a three-year-old in 1981. These included the Guardian Classic Trial at Sandown Park, the Chester Vase and the Irish Derby at the Curragh. At the Epsom Derby in June, he won by 10 lengths, which remains the furthest winning distance in the race’s history. He retired to the Aga Khan’s Ballymany Stud in Ireland, but in 1983 he was stolen and never found.
Kauto Star (2000-2015)
National Hunt hero Kauto Star won the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice (2007 and 2009) and the King George VI Chase a record five times between 2006 and 2011. During his racing career he notched up 16 Grade One victories.
Desert Orchid (1979-2006)
Known affectionately as ‘Dessie’, Desert Orchid was adored by the crowds for his incredible jumping, versatility and courage. Trained by David Elsworth, he ran 71 times between January 1983 and December 1991, winning 34 races. His victories include four King George VI Chases, the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Irish Grand National.
Brigadier Gerard (1968-1989)
Owned by John and Jean Hislop, and trained by Dick Hern, Brigadier Gerard won 17 of his 18 races between 1970 and 1972. His most memorable wins include the 2000 Guineas Stakes, a 10-length victory in the Goodwood Mile and top honours in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, all in 1971.
The Irish steeplechaser stormed to victories in the 1964 Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse and in the Leopardstown Chase (1964, 1965 and 1966). He cemented his legend status with consecutive wins in the Cheltenham Gold Cup (1964, 1965 and 1966) and the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury (1964 and 1965).
Her Majesty The Queen became the first reigning monarch to triumph in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot when Estimate won the coveted race in June 2013. The mare was retired to stud in September 2014 after five victories on the track.