Dual purpose great David Elsworth announces retirement

David Elsworth, trainer of the great Desert Orchid and Flat racing’s hugely popular stayer Persian Punch, has called time on his stellar career.

'Dessie', as the dashing grey was affectionately known by his adoring public, won the 1989 Cheltenham Gold Cup as well as the King George VI Chase four times and the 1990 Irish Grand National - among many other big races.

Elsworth prepared Desert Orchid and a number of other stars at his Whitsbury Manor Stables in Hampshire. From there, he sent out the winners of some of the calendar's biggest jump races, including the 1988 Grand National with Rhyme 'N' Reason, the Queen Mother Champion Chase with Barnbrook Again in 1989 and 1990, the Triumph Hurdle with Oh So Risky in 1991 and the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle in 1990 with Floyd.

The 82-year-old, who has learned his trade with Ricky Vallance in Wiltshire during the early 1970s, went on to become a leading dual-purpose trainer for many years with the legendary stayer, Persian Punch, one of his most popular Flat horses. He also saddled 2015 Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes winner Arabian Queen.

In recent years he had trained out of Egerton House Stables in Newmarket. As recently as 2018 Elsworth's total prize money earnings were still over £1million for the Flat season but by Covid-hit 2020 his winners tally was down to seven, yielding just £76,802 and thus far in 2021 he has trained the same number of winners.

On Wednesday afternoon he confirmed he had decided to call it a day.

He told the PA news agency: "If you go to a party, there is a time to go home.

"I'm not upset or downhearted about anything. It is just time to move on. I've had a great time."

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