10 Dark Horses

There are few secrets in horse racing. Trainers try their best to keep their potential stars of racing away from prying eyes. However, the very fact they have a class horse means they have to detail this information. We have found where this information hides and not only that we are going to prove its worth by giving you a sample. That's why we look forward to showing you what we know. 

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You may well be thinking. So what, a few talented horse. Big deal. The difference is it takes us hundreds of hours to find this valuable information. Something that seems so easy to give actually costs us £1000s in time. 

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Horse Racing Tips - How to Use Them to Find Good Bets

Racing Tips
There are all kinds of horse racing tips available to the people who bet on the races. Some of those picks are very valuable while others are just a come on to get you to spend money for more information. Like any other form of investing, wagering requires some planning and good information so that the investor can make a good decision. So the question arises, "Should I use those tips and if so, how should I use them?"

My advice is to proceed slowly when gambling and trust me, betting on horse races is gambling and very risky, in spite of what some tipsters would have you believe. The best way to find good information is to test it first. Ignore the sales pitch and rhetoric and instead, get picks and test them with paper bets or very small bets first.

When you go to a doctor for a serious condition and get a grave diagnosis, your fist step should be to get a second opinion. I advise you to do the same with horse racing picks. You may read what the handicapper has to say about a race and the horses and then read what someone else thinks about that same event.

Do they agree on any points? Do they disagree? Often you'll find that public handicappers like horse racing angles and will spot them from time to time and write about them. Unfortunately, they sometimes place too much importance on these little gems and that's where you, the consumer, have to use your judgment. If two prognosticators like the same runner for the same reason, they may be onto something, but if you get two completely different opinions, how do you know which one is right?

That's where testing and evaluating come into play. If you follow these tipsters for a while and get to know their strengths and weaknesses, you'll be able to tell when they are on track and when they are off course. That is an excellent way to let other people handicap the race for you while you simply handicap them. It doesn't matter how you form your opinions about a race and the runners, it just matters that at post time you can fairly evaluate each horse and then spot a good bet.

When I say a good bet, I mean one that has a positive outcome. In other words, the return outweighs the risk. How will you ever know that? Once again, it comes down to experience and following the handicappers long enough to know when they are on target or when they are off. A big part of horse racing handicapping success is experience and patience.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/horse-racing-articles/horse-racing-tips-how-to-use-them-to-find-good-bets-4284802.html
About the Author

If you want to learn how a horse owner and insider handicaps just go to http://williewins.homestead.com/truecb.html and get the truth. Bill Peterson is a former horse race owner and professional handicapper. To see all Bill's horse racing material go to Horse Racing Handicapping, Bill's handicapping store.

Horse Racing Gambling for a Living

Imagine you have a son or daughter who is of college age or ready to go out into the world and find a job. This young adult comes to you and tells you that he or she has finally made a choice of career. You are happy for your off spring and ask what that career might be.

"I want to handicap horse races for a living," he or she says.

How would you feel about that? If you are like most parents, you'd be disappointed and worried that your child had gone off the rails. A handicapper for a living? A professional gambler? That doesn't sound very good if it is someone you love, someone you want to succeed in the world.

There are, however, many people who are trying to do just that as you are reading this. Sometimes it is because that person thinks it will be an easy life with lots of freedom and easy money. Others believe it is romantic to make a living with your wits and watch horse races each day.

For other people it is more of a necessity. They may not have many options in this bad economy and they have run out of other choices. In desperation they decide to try to make money betting on horse races, vowing to work at it like a job and to make it pay. Some people who sell racing tips or handicapping systems would have you believe that it isn't even gambling if you have the right information. When a desperate person reads that line they often convince themselves that they aren't really gambling, just learning how to invest.

Take a few tips from an old timer who has placed many a bet, handicapped many a race, and stood in the winners circle with his own horse a few times, betting on horse races is gambling and is risky. It can be thrilling, financially rewarding, and costly, too. If you are seriously going to try to make money on horse racing bets, get the facts and make a solid plan for your future.

Can anyone really make money playing the horses? In my opinion and based on my own experiences, yes. Is it easy, glamorous, or thrilling? Yes and no. The truth of it is that you will have to work very hard and the failure rate is very high. When you choose handicapping as a career you are not only gambling on horses, but your own future as well.

The way that most successful horse racing handicappers succeed is to immerse themselves into the game and live, eat, breath, and think horse racing. They also stick to a strict money management scheme and work harder than most people with a steady job. It is thrilling to win money by betting on horse races, but I can tell you from personal experience that it is gut wrenching to have a large bet on a horse and to need the money to pay your bills and see that horse lose by a nose.

Walking out the track with empty pockets and wondering how you're going to make it is not fun. I wouldn't change the way I've lived my life if I could because I've enjoyed the highs and learned from the lows, but on the other hand, I wouldn't recommend the life of a horse player to someone else. I'm not trying to discourage you. I now make a living teaching other people how to handicap horse races and if no one plays the races, I'll be out of a job. On the other hand, I like to see people succeed and the only way you'll do it as a horse player is if you start with your eyes open and prepare yourself properly.

By Bill Peterson

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/horse-racing-articles/horse-racing-gambling-for-a-living-4221581.html
About the Author

If you want to learn how a horse owner and insider handicaps just go to http://williewins.homestead.com/truecb.html and get the truth. Bill Peterson is a former horse race owner and professional handicapper. To see all Bill's horse racing material go to Horse Racing Handicapping, Bill's handicapping store.

It's A Gambler's Life For Me - By Neil Walsh

Life's A Gamble
What was your first experience of gambling? 

I used to go into the local bookies with my mates when we were aged 16-17. We would sit in there all day, smoking cigars, reading newspaper form. We had no idea what we were looking at. We just put stupid multi bets together all day. I then graduated onto putting my Grandad's bets on every Saturday when he got too sick to get to the bookies. He would do a 10 pence each way patent every Saturday.

What was your biggest gambling success?

In 2010, I won £3200 on a £10 football sixfold bet Sky Super 6. Three draws, two away wins and one home result. I used to do this bet religiously as part of the Super 6 competition they run every week. One day I got up early to go to Anfield to watch Liverpool v Portsmouth, as I was leaving I remembered I hadn’t put my bet on, so I booted up the computer, went to the site and just looked at the fixtures and clicked the first result that popped into my head, without the usual hours of research. When the full-time results were read out over the tannoy at the match, I wasn’t sure I had won and I had a five-hour drive home, uncertain as to whether or not I had won.

What was you biggest gambling mistake?

I maxed out a credit card and dumped over a grand on top of the league Chelsea beating bottom of the league Wigan away at evens. A week earlier they had smashed Arsenal three or four nil. Wigan equalised in last ten minutes of the match from two nil down. I felt sick. I nearly got divorced over it.

What would you improve in horse racing? 

Sectional times on the flat. The all-weather would be ideal from a punting point of view.

Who do you admire in racing and why?

With the latest headlines of 4000 career winners, it has to be AP McCoy. The number of horses he gets to win that really shouldn’t is unreal. He is totally dedicated to winning. Riding hurt, but he puts in a shift every time and as a punter, I appreciate I will get a run for my money.

Name your favourite racehorse of all time?

Seagram, as this was my first winning selection in the Grand National.

What's your personal gambling ambition?

Would love to give up the day job and be a professional horse tipster/gambler.

Who would you like to be for a day (sport)?

I always fancied being the guy in the pit crew who held the pole out with the sign for the driver to stop. I reckoned he had the easiest, safest, job in the pits and probably got well compensated for it.

Best advice was given?

I’m not sure. I don’t take advice too well.  I’m sure I’ve been given loads of good advice I just don’t seem to have the ability to remember it or take it on board. 

Dream holiday destination?

I would like to go to America and drive along the coast either in a camper van or motorcycle. I would like to eat a hotdog at a baseball game and visit the grand canyon along the way. Someone told me sitting by the grand canyon “puts life into perspective” and it has stuck with me.

If you had a dinner party, who would you invite and why?

Jamie Oliver to do the cooking. The Dalai Lama and George Harrison for some existential conversation around the table and some Beatles anecdotes. Tom Segall, so I can get on at the price before he announces his selections and Jim Morrison for the after party “entertainment” in a bag.

Want to tell your gambling story? Email: jason_coote2000@yahoo.co.uk

Walking The Blogs: Patient Speculation

Walking The Blogs is back with its second edition - Patient Speculation. Mark's blog [now under new ownership] has made quite an impact and has become very popular in our blogging community. With regular updates, his blog is always a good read and his each way winning selections have already been noted by eager eyes. This question and answer format is very similar to the Weekender's Off Piste and gives a fascinating insight into the man behind the blog.         

HCE: 'I would like to thank Mark for taking the time to make this submission.' 

What inspired you to become a blogger?

When I decided to take my betting education seriously. I was always reading about the importance of keeping a journal and I also started collecting all sorts of information about the subject that was stored on either my laptop, Main PC, iPhone, or as paper cuttings etc. I also started to collect books on the subject. The problem was that whenever I was after a piece of information, that I knew I had, I could not find it.

I eventually decided the best course of action would be to start a blog, primarily to store everything in one place and also to share with others in the hope that in the act of sharing the information I would gain from the feedback of the blogs’ readers.

I started a blog called Edgehunters about a year ago and everything appeared to be fine. The blog became a very busy place and I received lots of feedback. The success of the blog caused a big problem though. I had created the blog on a blogging platform called Wordpress which I found took a lot of maintaining and, for me, had a very time-consuming learning curve. To cut a long story short, I simply became overloaded and decided that I could not keep the blog going, so just a few months after starting I decided to shut it down.

The strange thing was that I missed it so much that I started to look for alternatives to Wordpress and decided to investigate Blogger as a platform – my logic was that Google makes everything else simple so why not their blogging platform. I took to Blogger like a duck to water and Patient Speculation was born.

What was your biggest gambling mistake of all time?

When I joined Betfair I was the victim of beginners luck! I built a bank that included a few zeros in the number quite quickly. I began to believe that I had this business cracked and that I was invincible. Of course, it was only a matter of time before the inevitable happened and I lost the lot!

I then committed the cardinal sin of chasing with my own money, which left me with a minus profit and loss that included a few zeros! The whole experience left me feeling punch drunk, so I walked away from the whole idea for a while, which in hindsight was probably the best move I could make.

Eventually, I began to dip my toe back in the water and decided that I would treat the whole business a lot more seriously.

What are your favourite sports to punt/trade on?

Up to now horse racing and football, primarily because they are the sports I love and know the most about. But this year I am determined to look for angles in tennis and possibly golf, again because they are both sports that I am passionate about.

What would you do to improve horse racing?

There is not a simple solution. But my own solution would be to cut down on the number of meetings so that the quality of racing will improve. Also, keep the cost of entry to the courses as low as possible so as to get more people through the gates.

Who do you most admire in racing and why?

It has got to be AP McCoy. The reason is purely and simply that I have never seen him give less than 100%. I know if he is riding one of my selections it won’t lose because of lack of effort by the Jockey. I also dread it when my selection is neck and neck with a horse he is riding because invariably his mount will start to inch ahead to victory.

Who is your favourite racehorse of all time?

Denman. As much as I try to keep emotion out of my betting I just love that horse, pretty much for the same reasons as I so admire AP McCoy, The horse just keeps going and you can never count him out.

What's your personal ambition?

That’s an easy one. My ambition is to become a full-time profitable sports speculator. I love the whole idea of pitting my wits against the markets and winning.

Who would you like to be for a day?

That’s another easy one. Roger Federer, the day he wins his next major (and yes I believe he will).

The best advice I have been given?

Life is short - make the most of it.

Dream holiday destination?

Do I have to take the wife? No, seriously, I would love to go on around the World cruise. (As long as the ship had a decent broadband connection)

If you had a dinner party, who would you invite and why?

Robin Williams for entertainment, Roger Federer, Lance Armstrong & AP to talk about winning and Warren buffet to talk about making money, oh and finally Natalie Portman so I would have someone to stare at!!!

Professional Gamblers: Jack Ramsden

Jack Ramsden quit his job as a stockbroker in 1980 and since then has had 13 consecutive winning years as a professional punter. His successful punting like so many other professional punters is based around speed figures and race times.

He recently stated I cannot stress too strongly the importance of race times. They bind my whole approach together. There are fewer good times recorded over jumps but everyone seems to know about those horses and they are too short to back. Join our professional gambler newsletter by clicking here

Even cutting out the endless looking up of form books, I still spend two or three hours every day working out my bets. Jack continues, I'm constantly on the look out for the 3/1 chance that starts at 8/1. There are 30 or 40 of them a year and they are there to be seen. At those prices, you don't have to be right all the time! His premise is that while a good horse is capable of doing a bad time, no bad horse is capable of doing a good time.

He is unusual in that he has his own bookmaker, Colin Webster. There relationship is indeed unique, Colin pays Ramsden £5,000 a year for his advice and also has the job of getting his bets on with other bookmakers. Another unusual trait of Jack Ramsden is his liking for the multiple bets. His reasoning is that they are an extension of his policy to go for large prices and he reckons that on 4 occasions he has won over £200,000 on multiple bets.

Another piece of advice from Ramsden is regarding each-way bets. His advice is to ditch them. He states: I analysed my betting a couple of years ago and found that if I had doubled my win stakes instead of having each way bets, I would have been much better off. I think all punters would benefit by cutting out all each-way bets and sticking to singles.

Jack met his wife Lynda Ramsden when she worked at the Epsom yard of John Sutcliffe Snr, where Jack, one of Barry Hills's first owners, had horses. Ramsden was working in the City, but the City wasn't working for him. "I was a pretty useless stockbroker," he admitted. The Couple married in 1977 and then started training racehorses in the Isle of Man. I few years later moving over to England and North Yorkshire where they  trained for many years.

More pro gambler tales:

Dave Nevison

Phill Bull
A Tale Of A Pro Gambler

Grand National: Five Leading Contenders

The Last Samuri, Kim Bailey
The Cheltenham Festival is over for another year but now focus turns to the Grand National meeting at Aintree. Some of the best thoroughbreds in the business will compete at the three-day event but the majority of attention will be on the Grand National – arguably the toughest race in the industry. Here are five leading contenders for glory ahead of April’s big race.


The nine-year-old romped to victory in the Cross Country Chase to secure his third Festival victory in as many years and all signs point towards a good run at Aintree. Cause of Causes has won now the Cross Country Chase as well as the Kim Muir Handicap and the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham and a Grand National triumph could be on the cards.
Last year, Cause of Causes completed the famous Aintree race; coming home in eighth – a respectable effort to say the least. This time around, his preparation has been perfect and trainer Gordon Elliott looks set to give the green light for a run at Aintree.


Highland Lodge is somewhat of a course specialist and the 2015 Becher Chase winner could feature prominently if he gets decent track position early on. Trained by Cumbrian-based James Moffatt, the 11-year-old missed out on this race last year after he fell short in the weights. This year, he should make the cut fairly comfortably.
In December, he attempted to win the Becher for the second year in a row but missed out by a short head to Vieux Lion Rouge – currently a strong tip and one of the ante post favourites. Should he avoid trouble, Highland Lodge’s consistent jumping gives him a fantastic chance.


One to watch. He fell in December’s Becher Chase but his fifth in the Ultima Handicap at the Festival should be respected and Neil Mulholland will be quietly confident of Aintree success next month. He has been well backed in recent weeks and that effort at Cheltenham may be enough to tempt punters to have a nibble as Aintree draws closer.
Unfortunately, he is still young and he has a lot to learn. In the last 14 years, only one eight-year-old (Many Clouds) has won this race and history is certainly against him. However, he is talented enough to go far and he could surprise us all.


Jockey David Bass was given a dream ride on The Last Samuri in this race twelve months ago but Rule The World found more in the final couple of furlongs to snatch victory under David Mullins. Last year’s effort means that The Last Samuri must be respected and, barring a fall, he will be there or thereabouts at the business end of the race.
He was disappointing in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster earlier this month but The Last Samuri will enjoy a return to Aintree. He finished third in the Becher Chase in December but may appreciate a longer trip; don’t rule him out just yet.


But perhaps the pick of the bunch is Vieux Lion Rouge. He’s had the beating of these rivals in recent months and David Pipe will be full of confidence after a successful Cheltenham. He is well placed to go well off his current mark and will almost certainly have Tom Scudamore on board if all is well with both horse and jockey.

Like The Young Master, he is only eight years old but experience is nothing when you boast so much talent. Vieux Lion Rouge won the Grand National trial at Haydock last month and he is probably the pick of the bunch based on recent form.

My Adventure Into Lay Betting: Trying To Miss The Giraffe...

One of my favourite quotes is that even a broken watch is right twice a day. As a gambler I think most of us would like to have a better strike rate! Damn Watch.


Nothing changes, hey. I'm either quiet or you suffer from unending prose. The blog timeline details: spam, nothing, more spam, and My Adventure Into Lay Betting: Trying To Miss The Giraffe. [written 2013]

That latter topic sounds much more interesting. This adventure related to my laying horses to lose. That's two-year-old horses. I don't  understand anything else. Now, I'm not going to talk too much about my approach or the philosophy behind my laying tactics because it is a work in progress and rather boring in its written form. 

I must admit I don't find any form of gambling particularly pleasurable. My reasoning is that I have the odds in my favour. As every speculator will appreciate, that betting slip (in mind if not in hand) often morphs into a stick of dynamite.  The fuse burning too damn quick. Lay betting can feel rather daunting. When you've laid the rag and it's travelling with the zeal of a six-to-four jolly it makes the eyes bulge, the heart race, and your pocket has a kind of lost empty feel. Not very jovial. Well, that's the nature of the beast. Equine. You know, those things the commentator keeps talking about. 

So how did the season go?

Well, I was amazed. I know what you are thinking? Is that a good or bad amazing? I just took a double-take to see if my hand had been blown off. 

For the most part it was amazingly good - with a slight disaster at the finish.

I started small laying juveniles to win five pounds a time. That may seem a pittance but it can be a costly affair if a 20/1 shot has an exceptionally long neck. I'm pretty sure I laid a couple of giraffe this year.Last time I go to the bloody zoo and say what lovely creatures. I'm not against laying a good few horses in the same field. Races would come and go. I'd be winning ten, twenty, fifty pound a race. Everything was going well. Amazingly so. After winning several hundred pounds I considered it was time to lay each horse for twenty pounds. I knew it was a risk but time is money and all that. It made me a little nervous. The  bets ranged from laying favourites to huge outsiders. It can be slightly unnerving to lay a horse which could cost a couple of thousand. I always hope they fall out of the stalls and as fat as a pig. In that moment my potential terror of what could be turns to joy. Righteousness. Being right rather than religious. Obviously, there is good reason why I lay such horses. There is understanding, reason, professionalism. I'm not pinning the tail on the donkey - just trying to find it. However, that doesn't mean any horse cannot win. They do. The beasts. Those chestnut giraffe can be killers. 

To be fair I laid an incredible run of losers. In a matter of months I had turned my five pounds to four thousand. In a sizable field of maidens I would win up to two hundred a race. However, this approach doesn't allow you to just take any old race and wave my stick of dynamite. For starters, on many days there would be a limited number of two-year-old races. Certain race types were ignored.

I had a feeling of confidence.

For a moment I considered however fast that fuse burned if I filled my lungs with joyous - winning - air I could blow away that hellish spark.

On occasions I got my fingers burned. You have to remember that although I follow a professional approach there is something very different about working in practice to paper trailing. Thankfully I wasn't hit by a 100/1 shot. That would have been hard to swallow. But if you lay a bet you should never be surprised if it wins. It is probably sensible to imagine it will blow your socks off. I laid a couple of horses which won at 20/1. Not good. Although from my understanding I wasn't wrong in my approach. Horses win, horses lose, that's how it works. I must admit that in those early months of laying what must have been a hundred plus losers on the trot it all seemed ''amazingly'' straight forward. At the back of my mind (often at the front...and certainly in my pocket) I didn't believe it would last. I didn't expect it to follow a scenic path. I've watched  The Wizard of Oz. You have to meet a scarecrow, tin man, lion and a couple of flying monkeys before you get a chance to melt a green-faced witch and steal her bloody shoes. Although - thinking about it -hadn't she already lost them? 

I hit another couple of winners. A few bets cost a good few hundred. Financially it wasn't a problem but psychologically it was tougher. The next few lay bets made me really need them to lose. With a few winning days under my belt I shrugged off the loss and by a week or two I was back to an all-time high. 

However, little by little I hit a plateau. The four thousand pound mark became a wall. Each time I would climb the ladder to look over the other side I would be beaten to it by a giraffe who stuck out an incredibly long tongue. Sure the thing blew a raspberry before it came into view. I went from four thousand. Three thousand. Back to four thousand. Kicked in the nuts by wilder beast. It was a struggle. I didn't feel the approach was wrong. A few of the decisions come down to a photo finish. Prolonged agony. I realised that I needed a tweak here and there. Knock a few trainers on the head because they had done my brain in. That learning curve felt as though it was tying me up in knots. I'm sure that watch stopped when I wasn't looking.

The end of the two-year-old season was on the horizon and I was looking forward to a rest. One of the last bets was a killer blow. It didn't finish me off but it dampened my spirits which were already low. Of all days. I had been to the funeral of my aunt and switched on the races to see a Luca Cumani debutant which I laid for twenty pounds. The favourite struggled. In turn I had an uneasy feeling...which continued to cause concern. The beast travelled like a gazelle. I gave up trying to work out whether its neck was long or short. Its legs moved fast. It hit the front, cruising Kempton's final bend and lengthened clear into the straight. The loss I had expected materialised costing nearly eight hundred pounds. It wasn't the best of feelings. 

I'll be back next year with my tranquilizer dart.

3:30 Lingfield Racing Tips (8th March) MAIDEN STAKES (Class 5) (3yo) Winner £2,911 6 runners 1m2f Standard ATR

Racing tips today
A Maiden Stakes over 1m 2f on Standard going. 

Six three-year-olds take part: three colts, two geldings and one filly who is the only debutante in the field.

A varied mix of trainers. 

Very interested in Solajan. This son of Lope De Vega is trained by Ed Dunlop. He ran a promising race on debut when finishing runner-up. Saeed Jaber's charge cost 200,000G when purchased at two & fancied in the betting on debut when competing over one mile and half a furlong. He was denied by a head in a gritty finish. If you love Horse Racing Betting I'd advise this as a hot tip.  

Dunlop is a superb talent & this step up in distance looks ideal. To be fair, the betting odds today may not leave much meat on the bone but this will be a tough horse to beat.

Definitely worthy of an interest especially if drifting in the betting.

Denis Quinn is making a name for himself in the training ranks. Arsenio Lupin has raced twice finishing third and fourth. This bay colt was purchased for just 9,000G when almost putting a smile on bookmaker's faces when beaten less than one length. He was priced 100/1. 

By all accounts, even a place looked unlikely after a slow start, toiling in the rear, but finished with verve - not quite reaching the leaders. With a few extra yards, this son of Delegator would have won. Racing over the same distance of one mile on his second start at Lingfield, bookmakers were more fearful priced 6/1. This April foal dropped in class, by race type, being at auction race. He ran a fair race in fourth. 

The only filly in the field is Cookie's Star. Philip McBride is a sharp-eyed trainer who knows his horses. This daughter of Kyllachy was a very cheap purchase at just 2,500G and part owned by McBride [& Howard Cooke]. It is slightly concerning this bay filly has such a paltry price tag although it isn't a damning sign for every horse. The betting is the best guide. If seriously backed, I would take note. Although, the trainer's debutantes often improve for the run unless the money is down.   

I often give Richard Hughes a hard - because, in my opinion, he was a better jockey! He has many fancied horses which disappoint. Waterville Dancer is a son of Nathaniel who wasn't fancied on debut start at odds of 33/1. This 50,000G yearling purchase finished third of five. There should be improvement stepping up in distance but a difficult horse to assess.  

John Best has lost horse numbers over the last few years, which is a shame because he has achieved great success in his career. Padrinho raced twice last year, down the field over seven furlongs, unplaced both starts at odds of 100/1. This bay gelding hasn't been seen since September when racing at Ascot. That may indicate Best holds this horse in some regard. This step up in distance will help. Not the easiest horse to assess but worthy of note if fancied in the betting.     

Jose Santos is one of few trainers to have a winner priced 200/1. Flying Flynn has been relatively fancied compared to that surprise package. A couple of well-beaten placed effort see at horse rated just 60. 

Conclusion: Time may tell this isn't the strongest race. Solajan will take some beating. If drifting a touch in the market, will be a worthy wager. 

Cheltenham Gold Cup Memories: Desert Orchid

Henry Ford once said of his cars: ''You can have one in any colour, as long as it is black.'' 

Thank the Lord he didn't breed racehorses! 

Where would we have been without ''Dessie''? 

It is difficult to put a finger on it, but there is something special about grey horses. Even from afar they eclipse the bays, chestnuts and their like. Lady luck invites us to bet on the grey. No one asks: ''Which one's mine?'' And when they win... it's like watching Pegasus without wings. 

You know, I believe one grey horse was truly magical. Why? Because if you ask someone to name a grey I bet they will give one reply. Such elegance, beauty, captured in a gritty determined winning style. I'm convinced he was born a unicorn but some vagabond stole his magical horn leaving him with a story which foretold one day you will run like the wind, fly over fences and be crowned a champion racehorse.

His name was Desert Orchid.

Born on the 11th April 1979, this son of Grey Desire, out of the mare Flower Child, became an icon of National Hunt racing. With his front-running style and iron will this much-loved horse was simply the peoples' champion.  

His greatest victory came in the 1989 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Desert Orchid, trained by David Elsworth and ridden by Simon Sherwood, had been in superb form leading up to this race where he was made 5/2f. Running over 3m 2f, jumping 19 fences in heavy ground, would be a remarkable test for a horse who was once thought a two-miler at a course he did not favour. This noble grey jumped well, leading to the 14th fence, he was left in the lead 3 out, only to be headed by the brave mud-loving Yahoo. Over the last fence it looked as though Desert Orchid was beaten. The crowd watched in awe as racing commentator Peter O'Sullivan echoed those famous words: ''Desert Orchid is beginning to get up.'' He won by one and half lengths beating Yahoo, with Charter Party finishing third. Simon Sherwood said: ''I have 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.''

Dessie was without question the peoples' champion. A quote from a race fan remembering this day detailed what so many felt.

 ''When Peter O'Sullivan started 
to say Desert Orchid was beginning to get up 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''

Few race meetings capture the anticipation, excitement and passion of the Cheltenham Festival. The Gold Cup the pinnacle of equine star. Which horse captures your imagination like Dessie? What's your idea of a good horse racing bet? Bring sports alive with the best odds available at Bet Victor