Arkle. Nearly half a century after he raced, his name continues to reverberate in the folk memory of horse racing.
Every new champion is measured against the benchmark of what he achieved; every true jumping fan still goes misty-eyed at the mere mention of the horse known simply as ‘Himself’.
Arkle won twenty-two of his twenty-six steeplechases between 1962 and 1966, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times, Hennessy Gold Cup twice, Whitbread Gold Cup, King George VI Chase and Irish Grand National, before his career was prematurely cut short by injury.
But he has long been much more than just a famous racehorse. He was – and remains – a national hero in his native Ireland and an equine icon the world over. He received fanmail by the sackload (some of it addressed simply to ‘Arkle, Ireland’), featured on Irish stamps, and even had poems and songs written about his fabled feats. There has simply never been a horse to match him, in racing record or in the public affection.
Now in a revised and updated paperback edition featuring many previously unpublished photographs, this book is a fitting tribute to the horse of whom the Racing Post wrote: ‘We have not seen his like since – and nor are we ever likely to.’