Wednesday, 25 April 2018

The Legend of Arkle:

Arkle Race Horse
There have been many great horses that have achieved great racing honours. Red Rum won the prestigious Grand National for three times and Best Mate won the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times as well. Yet none of them could quite match the appeal of Arkle. Even the people with no interest in racing would know his name and praise his talents. His name still evokes many emotions among the Irish people. Peter O'Sullevan, the famous racing commentator, called him a freak of nature — something unlikely to be seen again.

His jumping was not perfect, still his imperfections only added to his magical personality. His dominance was so complete in the race that the racing authorities in Ireland at that time had to change the handicapping rules because of him.

The Arkle Challenge Trophy at Cheltenham Festival is named after him as a way to pay tribute. The Cheltenham Festival is very near now which takes place in the month of March every year. It is the best place for all the punters. That is why a huge conversation is generating about the prospects of different horses. Will the horses of Wille Mullins shine on the field or will it be the horses of Nicky Henderson or Jessica Harrington who will steal the show? These questions are being debated with great intensity among the punters.

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After winning the 1963 Broadway Chase, Arkle faced Mill House (the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner) for the first time in the 1963 Hennessy Gold Cup, and he lost that race against Mill House. However, Arkle took his revenge in the Cheltenham Gold Cup of 1964 by beating Mill House by five lengths. It was his first Gold Cup win and it was the last time he was not featured as favourite for a race.

In the next Gold Cup of 1965, he easily defeated Mill House by 20 lengths. And in the 1966 Gold Cup, he grabbed another victory by an outstanding 30 lengths. In that race, he even made an early mistake but his momentum remained steady and he got such a dominating victory. That season of 1965-66, the legendary Arkle remained unbeaten in 5 races.

In the three years; Arkle acheived such a huge racing honour for himself, winning a King George VI Chase and 3 consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cups. Besides these wins, he also won the Hennessy Gold Cup, the Irish Grand National, the Whitbread Gold Cup and the Gallagher Gold Cup.

Tragically, Arkle got a serious injury during racing in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park. He hit the guard rail resulting in a fractured pedal bone while jumping the open ditch. Even then, the legendary Arkle completed the race and almost won by coming in second.
The injury stopped him from running ever again, although he made enough recovery to get back into training. He became hugely famous in Ireland. Even at one point Arkle for President was written on a Dublin wall. He was simply referred as "Himself".


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