Desert Orchid Back In The Starting Stalls For Bonhams Next Racing Sale In Newmarket

Bonhams second Racing Sale at Newmarket to be held on July 20th takes place at the premises of Europe’s largest bloodstock auctioneers, Tattersalls.

Among the many items on sale that celebrate the Sport of Kings is a painting of a prince among horses, Desert Orchid, the legendary steeplechaser. The picture of `Dessie’, an oil by Barrie Linklater, is estimated to sell for £6,000 to £8,000.

Desert Orchid was foaled on 21 April, 1979 and died on13 November 2006. In his long career he took part in 70 races of which he won a phenomenal 34. Key victories included the King George VI Chase: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990; the Cheltenham Gold Cup: 1989; the Irish Grand National: 1990; and the Whitbread Gold Cup: 1988.

Desert Orchid won over £650,000 in prize money in his career. The gallant grey achieved iconic status within National Hunt racing, where he was much loved by supporters for his iron will and extreme versatility.

One of the gems in this sale is an engraving of the racehorse, Sweetbriar, by George Townley Stubbs (1757-1815), which is estimated to attract bids in the region of £2,500 to £3,500.

This second Racing Sale staged by Bonhams promises to eclipse the first which last year raised £337,000 in a buoyant market with every area of equestrian art attracting interest and good prices. For the sale this year there are already many exciting entries including cherished and distinctive racing colours from the British Board of Horseracing. Another attractive lot is a painting by Alfred Bright (early 20th Century) `The Auckland Racing Cup Handicap’ from a set of four albums of watercolours and correspondence by the artist. A late 19th century novelty pendant in the form of a jockey’s cap, which opens to reveal a compass and a mini roulette wheel, is estimated to sell for £250-350.

The first Bonahms Racing Sale last year included a broad range of items with equestrian pictures, works of art, horseracing ephemera and cherished and distinctive racing colours from the British Horseracing Board and a collection of racing pictures by Peter Biegel, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother’s favourite racing artist. There were some impressive individual prices achieved in this landmark summer sale: an 18th century painting of a horse and jockey by James Seymour sold for £10,575; a Dunhill lighter and cigarette box, decorated with racing scenes, made £8,225, while an equestrian sculpture by the 19th century Belgian artist, Jean Baptiste van Heffen, raised £11,750 while Biegel’s collection romped home.

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