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Desert Orchid Gold Cup Winner 1989

Desert Orchid, Gold Cup Winner 1989
The Cheltenham Festival. What does it mean to you? Which race do you love to anticipate, bet & watch? If you are going to bet, then I found this long list of offers available for this year.   

In truth, there are so many horses who have made this iconic race meeting the pinnacle of their career. Name a National Hunt favourite - I bet it won at Prestbury Park. 

As the saying goes: ''Time flies.'' But let's face it, for most readers who placed a winning bet on this special day it's as fresh as yesterday. 

Even after so many years, I wonder what odds you would give when asking this question.

Name a grey horse? 

Desert Orchid. 

Time may fly but nostalgia lives long in the heart and mind. Think back to the days of Desert Orchid. In 1989 ''Dessie'' achieved the ultimate goal when winning the Gold Cup to the voice of a legend in his own right, Sir Peter O'Sullivan. 

His most famous words:


''Desert Orchid is beginning to get up...''

To the cheers of a jubilant crowd, 'Dessie' done it!

One quote from a happy punter exemplified the feeling of a national: 

''It sent shivers down my spine. It was like watching England win the World Cup. I wanted to streak up the road I was so delirious''

What a day.

Do you remember these 3 quotes?

1) After winning the 1989 Gold Cup, jockey, Simon Sherwood said: 

"I've never known a horse so brave. He hated every step of the way in the ground and dug as deep as he could possibly go".  

2) Racing Post:

''The race has been voted the best horse race ever by readers.''

3) Carrying Weight:

''No horse since Desert Orchid has repeatedly and successfully conceded weight to his rivals at the highest level.''

Desert Orchid was born 11th April 1979 in Goadby, Leicestershire. This grey was sired by Grey Desire out of a dam called Flower Child. He was bred by James Burridge who was a part owner with Midge Burridge, Richard Burridge & Simon Bullimore. He was trained by David Elsworth racing seventy times, winning thirty-four, eleven seconds and placed third on eight occasions. His most noted victories included the King George VI Chase four times (1986, 1988, 1989, 1990), Cheltenham Gold Cup (1989) & Irish Grand National (1990). He achieved total prize money of £654,066.

He retired in December 1991. Desert Orchid had his own fan club raising over £40,000 for charities selling ''Dessie'' merchandise and racing calendars.     

Desert Orchid died on 13th November 2006. He was aged 27. His ashes were buried at his beloved Kempton Park Racecourse near his statue.  

Horse Racing Tips

Thistlecrack, horse racing,
Choosing a winning horse is rarely luck and most punters with winning wagers have researched and analysed their bets. There are a lot of quality sites offering high-quality horse racing tips and there are a couple of things to look for when choosing a winning horse.

In this article, we will try to list several factors which we feel are key when determining a winning tip. These include looking at the stats, at the course record and at the betting market.

Look at the Stats

If you are a fan of statistics, then horse racing is for you. The downside of this is that there are tons of stats, and to go through all of them takes away a sizeable portion of your free time, but trust us it is worth it.

Looking at the stats has helped a lot of punters spot a winner they would have otherwise let slip. A good example of this would be the perennial runner-up to Tony McCoy in the Champion Jockey title, finally crowned champion in 2016, Richard Johnson.

So far this season from 842 runs he has 153 wins and a win per race ratio of 18.17%. However, his win rate in the last 7 days has been just 14.29%, winning just 3 of his last 21 runs.

A stats man will know that based on these numbers Richard Johnson should be avoided in the next several races. He will also know that, since Johnson is a class act, this bad run will not last forever. That is why an experienced punter will probably decide to wait for Johnson's first win and then back him to win a few consecutive races.

Course Record

Before a race, a veteran punter looks at the information on the racing page and searches for trainers which have a good record on a certain course. Trainers who have delivered good results at a course are much more likely to repeat that feat once again.

The same thing applies to both the horse and the jockey. If there is a 'C' right next to the name of the horse, he has already won over the course, which can be really important for tracks with special features and characteristics.

Jockeys are the same. Ask every jockey and they will tell you that they have a favourite course. For example, Ruby Walsh rides Cheltenham like no other jockey out there.

Look at the Market

Do other punters know something that you don't know? You never know, and that is why it might be worthwhile to look at movements on the market.

If the horse that won the last race has been bet heavily on before the race, then others might know more than you think. Why is this important? Because if you notice the same thing happening with the same horse again, then you might be in on a winner and with a chance to make some money.


Clouds absence offers Many alternatives for National success

Grand National 2017
Following his win over the previously unbeaten and current Cheltenham Gold Cup ante-post favourite, Thistlecrack, Many Clouds sadly collapsed and passed away shortly after the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on Festival trials day, in arguably his finest performance of a hugely successful career. 

‘Clouds’ truly was one of the most iconic National Hunt racehorses in recent memory following his Grand National win back in 2015. Running in the recognisable colours of owner Trevor Hemmings and trained by Oliver Sherwood, Many Clouds was the 2017 National ante-post market leader before his untimely passing – and would surely have been a distinctly short price to recapture the most prestigious award in the sport once again in April.

It is a terrible shame we will not see his bold, front-running style, jumping with aplomb once again in the Aintree showpiece, however, it opens the door for a new hero to emerge.
After the National weights were recently published, there has been several notable market moves in the ante-post books, and here we will look closely at some of the contenders in greater detail.

Handy weight

Irish trainer, Gordon Elliott is mob-handed with eleven potential runners from the 40 guaranteed starters for the Grand National, so whichever horse/s he decides to saddle up for the race, it can be deemed as a tip in itself. However, it is his eleventh runner in weight order – Ucello Conti that really takes the eye. Given a handy weight of 10-7, the Simon Munir and Isaac Suede owned nine-year old already has plenty of Aintree experience. Ucello Conti finished fourth in the Becher Chase back in December, and also put in a fine effort to complete last year’s National in sixth place. Previously trading as a 33/1 chance before the weights were revealed, Ucello Conti is now a best priced 25/1 shot.
Lenient mark?

A potential blot on the handicap could lie with the Rebecca Curtis trained O’Faolains Boy – last seen finishing seventh in the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup. The British Horseracing Authority’s senior handicapper, Phil Smith may have handed the 10-year old former RSA Chase winner a lenient mark of 10-6 – that is effectively eight pounds below his last performance on the track. Despite being 44th in the weights, it is highly unlikely to hinder hopes of a National bid, as several horses above are likely to pull out. Although never tackling the Aintree National fences, O’Faolains Boy is yet to fall or unseat under rules which bodes well for a spin over the most testing obstacles. The 66/1 previously available on Curtis’ charge has now evaporated, however the 40/1 currently available could still look like good value when the race comes around.

In the reckoning

Only touted just this season as a potential Gold Cup winner by his trainer, Jonjo O’Neill, More of That is now likely to be aimed towards the Liverpool meeting in April. A former World Hurdle winner who managed the feat of downing the colours of Annie Power in the process, More of That perhaps hasn’t the same ability of years gone by – but the JP McManus owned star still has the class required to be in the National reckoning. Running off a mark of 157, More of That will carry a maximum of 11-1 provided current top weight Outlander stands his ground – O’Neill certainly knows how to get one ready for the National after saddling up Don’t Push It to glory back in 2010 for his esteemed connections and currently trades around the 25/1 mark.

Youthful experience

It is highly plausible that the Becher Chase form could well offer plenty of clues to find this season’s National winner - Vieux Lion Rouge has been slightly forgotten since the weights have been announced. Trained by David Pipe, Vieux Lion Rouge nabbed long-time leader, Highland Lodge in the final furlong to claim victory in his latest appearance over the famous Aintree obstacles. The visual efforts from that day suggested that Vieux Lion Rouge might still have some improvement left in the tank. Only an eight-year old, he has already gained plenty of experience over the National fences and looks very worthy of consideration at current odds of around 25/1.

Types of Horse Racing Bets

Cheltenham, 2017, Cheltenham Festival
Being know as ‘the sport of kings’, horse racing understandably bears a lot more weight than you might presume. When speaking of betting, there are many types and combinations which could get you quite a profit. Knowing some basic facts beforehand can save you a lot of trouble.

But first, you need to distinguish between a straight bet and an exotic one.
Straight bets let you place your wager on one horse per bet, and they can vary across several types:
  • Win – Placing this bet on your chosen horse means he needs to win 1st place in order for you to collect.
  • Place – This bet means that your horse is supposed to finish first or second. The profits may be lower with this type, but the chances are higher by 50%.
  • Show – An even safer bet which lets you choose the horse you think will finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd place, and with an even smaller payout.
  • Across the board – For this bet, there’s still one horse involved, but with multiple scenarios. Namely, this bet combines the previous three, win-place-show, and thus requires higher wages. If the selected horse wins 1st place, you get three out of three scenarios, and so on.
  • Win/Place & Place/Show – This is just a modification of the previous, but only includes two of the three possible scenarios. Betting on a win/place means your horse is supposed to finish first to get both or second for the place money. The same analogy is used for the place/show bet. As a combination, this bet may cost more, but you can also choose to use Gold cup free bets, bonuses and promotions available at the top horse race betting sites.
As for exotic wagers, it’s important to know that they consist of betting on multiple horses in a single bet. This can turn profitable or expensive, depending on your level of expertise, which is why Cheltenham tips or various personalised advisors are recommended to help you.
  • Exacta – This means that you’ve bet on two horses which are supposed to finish 1st and 2nd in the same order as you predicted. As quite a risky bet, exacta is known to pay off in the end. On the safe side, you can always ‘box’ your bet, meaning your two horses can reach top two positions in any order, but you’d still win your bet.
  • Quinella – A less edgy bet than exacta, quinella also involves two horses which need to finish 1st and 2nd, but in any order. This bet costs less than an exacta, and is even half the price of ‘boxing’ it, but isn’t as lucrative as it.
  • Trifecta – If you decide to go with this bet, you’re supposed to place your wager on three horses finishing in the top three positions, plus, in the exact order you’ve predicted. It’s pricey, as expected, but the trifecta brings the largest payoff, even if you spend something extra to ‘box’ it.

Cheltenham's Most Memorable Moments in History

Cheltenham Festival,
Ask anyone on the street to name the biggest race of the year, and the odds are that nine out of ten will tell you the Grand National. However, walk into any bookmakers in the land, and all you’ll hear is Cheltenham this and Gold Cup that. There’s something about the Cheltenham Race Festival that draws us all in. From Ruby Walsh’s total dominance to long shot winners, the meet just keeps throwing up historical moments year after year.

Dessie’s Gold Cup


Even those of us that weren’t yet old enough to place a bet will remember the 1989 Gold Cup for the sheer emotion of the day. Desert Orchid, arguably the most popular Gold Cup winner in history, ran through monsoon-like weather conditions to beat the likes of West Tip and Charter Party against all the odds. So loved was Dessie that when he died at the age of 27 the entire nation, Her Majesty included, mourned his passing.

Norton’s Coin takes Dessie’s crown


Only a year after Dessie’s incredible win, we had one of the biggest upsets in Gold Cup history when 100/1 long shot Norton’s Coin won by three-quarters of a length. Owner Sirrel Griffiths, a Welsh farmer with just three horses in his stables, admitted that he had only entered Norton’s Coin in the Gold Cup after he missed the deadline for a handicap contest. A quirk of fate that led to one of the most memorable races in Cheltenham’s history that saw Toby Tobias place second and Dessie come home in third. 

The cancelled festival


The foot and mouth outbreak of 2001 saw festival organisers move veritable mountains in their quest to ensure that the meeting go ahead. Having rescheduled the fixture for April, racegoers were optimistic that the meet would remain unaffected by the outbreak. But when authorities discovered a new case of foot and mouth disease in a village just five miles from the course, there was no option but to cancel the festival. In 2008 the second day was cancelled due to storms, but 2001 remains the only time that organisers called off the meeting completely.

Ruby’s record


It’s near impossible to talk of Cheltenham without mentioning the incredible records of Ruby Walsh. The Kildare native’s name is now synonymous with the festival, but it was at the 2009 meeting that he put his name in the record books forever. That year he rode seven winners, the most ever at a meeting and a record that he again equalled in 2016. An incredible feat, but we would expect nothing less from one of the sport’s all-time greats.

Hardy Eustace’s Champion Hurdle


Lining up against the defending champion Rooster Booster, Hardy Eustace was an unfancied 33/1 shot in the 2004 Champion Hurdle. He had just suffered four defeats over hurdles in quick succession, and not many gave him the slightest chance. But Conor O’Dwyer rode a classic race finishing five lengths ahead of Rooster Booster. Trained by Dessie Hughes, he successfully defended his crown in 2005 at considerably shorter odds of 7/2. 

This year's favourite for the Gold Cup is without doubt Thistlecrack, with stablemate Native River and dual runner-up Djakadam the obvious main challengers. But looking down the list of Cheltenham Gold Cup runners for this year and their prices has us wondering if we're due an upset. Could the aptly named Perfect Candidate romp home at 200/1? It seems highly unlikely but what a story it would make and certainly one to add to the list of Cheltenham’s most memorable moments.

Photo source: Wikimedia