Dessie should remain at Kempton
Sculptor Philip Blacker believes his statue of Desert Orchid should remain on the site of Kempton, whatever the fate of the racecourse itself.
Sir Anthony McCoy sits astride the statue of Desert Orchid
Blacker, himself a former jockey, saw his life-size bronze of the four-times King George VI Chase winner unveiled at the Sunbury track in 1991, while the legendary gelding's ashes are also buried at the track.
Desert Orchid's statue currently overlooks the parade ring at Kempton, but with the track's owners the Jockey Club having revealed proposals to close down the venue "from 2021 at the earliest", its future whereabouts is uncertain.
The racecourse could eventually be redeveloped for housing and should that be the case, Blacker feels Desert Orchid's statue should remain in a prominent position on the site to serve as a permanent reminder of the history of the area.
He told Press Association Sport: "I don't really want to comment on the rights and wrongs of the Kempton issue.
"As far as the statue is concerned, I think it should remain on the site but be repositioned in a prominent position, on a roundabout maybe.
"It would be a reminder and symbol of what used to be there. If raised high up it would be vandal proof."
Kempton is also the home to a statue of Kauto Star, who surpassed Desert Orchid's record when winning a fifth King George in 2011.
Charlie Langton's over-life-sized bronze statue, which was unveiled on Boxing Day in 2014, stands in the middle of Kempton's winner's enclosure, with half of Kauto Star's ashes buried alongside the specially commissioned statue, which took around eight months to complete.
Langton is equally in the dark about the fate of his tribute.
He said: "I've been wondering what will happen to it myself. I'd love to know. Hopefully they'll find somewhere nice."
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