The Racehorse Legends issue, released on April 6, honours eight equine legends of flat racing and national hunt racing in Britain.

Illustrated by Michael Heslop, each stamp shows a famous horse in action during one of its most celebrated races, with five different racecourses featured in all.

The horses selected are among the most popular and successful in racing history, from the mid 1960s to the present day. Three were born in Britain, four in Ireland and one in France, but all were trained in Britain.

With royal patronage since the days of King Charles II, horse racing has been called ‘the sport of kings’. All thoroughbred racehorses in the world today are descended from three oriental stallions imported to Britain in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

The stamps were designed by Together Design and printed in litho by International Security Printers.

1st class FRANKEL

Born in 2008, owned by Khalid Abdullah and trained by Sir Henry Cecil, Frankel won all of his 14 races, including the 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket in 2011, ridden by Tom Queally.

1st class RED RUM

Born in 1965, owned by Noel Le Mare and trained by Ginger McCain, Red Rum won the Grand National at Aintree three times, in 1973, 1974 and 1977, ridden in the last of these triumphs by Tommy Stack.

£1.17 SHERGAR

Born in 1978, owned by the Aga Khan and trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Shergar won the Derby at Epsom in 1981 by 10 lengths, the biggest winning margin in the history of the race, ridden by Walter Swinburn.

£1.17 KAUTO STAR

Born in 2000, owned by Clive Smith and trained by Paul Nicholls, Kauto Star won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2007 and became the first horse ever to regain it in 2009, ridden by Ruby Walsh.

£1.40 DESERT ORCHID

Born in 1979, owned by Richard Burridge and trained by David Elsworth, ‘Dessie’ won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1989, ridden by Simon Sherwood, and became hugely popular with punters after winning 34 out of 71 races.

£1.40 BRIGADIER GERARD

Born in 1968, owned by John and Jean Hislop and trained by Dick Hern, Brigadier Gerard won 17 out of his 18 races, including the 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket in 1971, ridden by Joe Mercer.

£1.57 ARKLE

Born in 1957, owned by the Duchess of Westminster and trained by Tom Dreaper, Arkle won the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times, in 1964, 1965 and 1966, ridden on each occasion by Pat Taaffe.

£1.57 ESTIMATE

Born in 2009, owned by the Queen and trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Estimate won the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2013, ridden by Ryan Moore, becoming the first horse to do so for a reigning monarch.

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

The presentation pack was written by former jockey, horse racing journalist and television presenter Brough Scott. It explores the origins of British horse racing, and includes a pen picture of each of the featured horses.

Stamp cards and a first day cover are available as usual, along with a special coin cover.

 

PRICES

Set of 8 stamps   £9.58

Presentation pack   £10.10

Stamp cards   £3.60

First day cover   £11.92

Medal cover   £14.95

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   3/5

Horse racing in Britain has a 350-year history, although this issue is not based on any particular anniversary

QUALITY OF DESIGN   4/5

The commissioning of paintings based on photographs gives the stamps an appealing character and vibrancy

WOW FACTOR   3/5

Racing aficionados would no doubt be delighted to receive these nostalgic images on their mail