Arkle In the post-war era, three horses have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times but, with all due respect to Cottage Rake and Best Mate, Arkle is the benchmark against which all other steeplechasers have been measured for nearly five decades. His Timeform rating of 212 is the highest ever awarded to a steeplechaser and, with the exception of his contemporary and stablemate, Flyingbolt, no other has ever come close to reaching the same level. Best Mate, for example, achieved a Timeform rating of ‘just’ 185.


Foaled at the Ballymacoll Stud in County Meath, Ireland in 1957 and named after a mountain in the Scottish Highlands, Arkle fittingly made a winning debut over fences in the Honeybourne Chase at Cheltenham in November, 1962. He returned to Prestbury Park the following March to win the Broadway Novices’ Chase, latterly the RSA Chase, and subsequently won at Fairyhouse and Navan to finish the 1962/63 season unbeaten.


He first met Mill House, who was to become his nearest rival on the racecourse, in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in November, 1963. On that occasion, Arkle slipped at the third fence from home and could eventually finish only third, beaten 8 lengths, behind Mill House, who was conceding 5lb.


However, Arkle gained his revenge in the 1964 Cheltenham Gold Cup, beating Mill House by 5 lengths, at level weights, after an epic duel over the last two miles. He repeated the dose the following year, making all the running to beat Mill House by an effortless 20 lengths, and confirmed his legendary status by beating Dormant by 30 lengths in the 1966 Cheltenham Gold Cup, despite making an uncharacteristic blunder at the eleventh fence.


In his first race of the 1966/67 season, Arkle went down by half a length to Stalbridge Colonist, who was receiving two-and-a-half stone, in the Hennessy Gold Cup. He won the SGB Handicap Chase at Ascot by 15 lengths, conceding 32lb and upwards to his rivals, and headed to Kempton for the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.


However, despite going down by just a length to Dormant, he suffered a fracture of his pedal bone in the closing stages and finished very lame. He recovered from the injury, but not sufficiently to return to the racecourse and was retired in 1968. He made his final public appearance at the Horse of the Year Show in 1969 but, sadly, was not to enjoy the long and happy retirement he deserved. In early 1970, he started to show signs of stiffness in his hind legs and, despite treatment for arthritis, his health worsened and he was put down later that year at the age of thirteen.


Originally bought for the princely sum of 1,150 guineas by trainer Tom Dreaper, on behalf of Anne, Duchess of Westminster, Arkle ran in 26 steeplechases. He was ridden in all 26 by Pat Taaffe, starting at odds-on on 22 occasions, and winning all but four. In fact, only six horses finished in front of him in 26 steeplechases and, aside from winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times, he won the Hennessy Gold Cup (twice), the King George VI Chase and the Irish Grand National.


His Timeform rating may have been criticised for being “exaggerated”, at a time when no central handicapping existed, but the legend of the horse often referred to in his heyday simply as “Himself” endures. He is remembered by the Arkle Challenge Trophy on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, he is one of just three horses to be honoured with a statue at the course and his skeleton is on public display at the Irish Horse Racing Museum.

Seabiscuit Introduction


Some horses are known for their success on the track, some are known for being incredible studs as time goes on. One horse that stands out from the pack, though, is the impressive and diverse Seabiscuit. Having been a hose during the time of the Great Depression, the fact it was a perennial underdog but always managed to find a solution and a win made it a fantastic parallel for the hard times of the era.


Career Summary


Given that the US was full of rampant poverty at the time, seeing an unfancied horse with no real right to win trophies getting to win some of the biggest races in the then-history of the sport was truly special. It became a fantastic example of how, despite the challenges of the era, it was still possible to find success if people defied the odds and looked ahead of themselves.


Major wins over the year made sure that as time moved on, the legend of Seabiscuit remained. The horse was the subject of various media about its life in the form of movies and books, creating an interesting backstory for the horse that helped to further prove the underdog credentials of the creature.


Indeed, it was even given a postage stamp named after it. It took many years to be recognized, but it’s part of the incredible history and importance to the era that Seabiscuit has been immortalized in such a manner.


While long gone now, the horse lives on in the media and the tales of overcoming hardship to win major trophies time and time again.


Achievements & Highlights



Wins – Massachusetts Handicap (1937), Brooklyn Handicap (1937), Bay Meadows Breeders’ Cup Handicap (1937, 1938), Havre de Grace Handicap (1938), Match race vs Ligaroti (1938), Pimlico Special vs War Admiral (1938), Hollywood Gold Cup (1938), San Antonio Handicap (1940), Santa Anita Handicap (1940)


Associations – Charles Howard, Sunny Fitzsimmons, Tom Smith, Gladys Phipps.


Earnings – $400,000+




Great Yarmouth Racecourse The Great Yarmouth racecourse is a flat thoroughbred racetrack located towards the north of Great Yarmouth. It is not very far from the beach, taking only a few minutes’ walk to get there. It is a very important racing venue since it features a straight line mile. This makes it more unique as not many racecourses in the country feature this kind of
race. The racecourse is owned by Arena Racing Company. It is known to host a total of 23 race meetings annually.

The first race to be held at Great Yarmouth first took place in the year 1715. Prior to the race meetings, an array of events used to take place in the racecourse. This included donkey races and chasing pigs with a soaped tail. It was until 1810 when the racecourse started holding thoroughbred races, and by the end of 1866, the number of races held in the track had increased significantly in number. During the World War 1, races were suspended indefinitely but resumed after a couple of years. In the year 1920, the racecourse changed its location to North Denes. This was due to the constant pressure they received from the fishing industry, who sought to expand their territories deep into South Denes.

John Musker Fillies’ Stakes is the most popular race run in the racecourse. It usually takes place in September, and is run over a mile and a quarter. This year, the Great Yarmouth is set to hold a total of 23 fixtures, starting from April all through to October. The car boot sale is scheduled for every Sunday from the 1st of April to the end of October. Gates will be opening at 7 am while races start at 12 noon. On Saturday the 5th of May will be the Murder Mystery
Evening, hosted by lord and lady Beauregarde. This will be a ladies dinner out.