Arkle

In the history of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which was first run, as a steeplechase, in 1924, just four horses – Golden Miller, Cottage Rake, Arkle and Best Mate – have won the race three years running. All four have carved their names, indelibly, into Cheltenham Festival history, but none more so than Arkle, whose domination of the best horses of his day, in the mid-1960s, made him a national hero in his native Ireland. Even today, nearly five decades after his untimely death, at the age of thirteen, in 1970, Arkle is the yardstick by which all other steeplechasers are judged.

Owned by Anne Grosvenor, Duchess of Westminster and trained by Tom Dreaper in Co. Dublin, Arkle had already won what is now the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 1963 before he lined up for his first attempt at the ‘Blue Riband’ event the following year. On that occasion, the pick of the opposition was the reigning champion, Mill House – arguably the best British steeplechaser since Golden Miller but still, ultimately, rated 21lb inferior to Arkle, according to Timeform – who was sent off 8/13 favourite to retain his title. Patiently ridden by Pat Taaffe, Arkle drew alongside long-time leader at the second-last fence, took a length lead at the last and sprinted clear to win by 5 lengths; his winning time, of 6 minutes 45.6 seconds, smashed the course record.

Arkle and Mill House reopposed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1965, but this time Arkle was sent off favourite, at prohibitive odds of 30/100, to confirm the form. He did so with aplomb, effortlessly sprinting clear in the closing stages to win by 20 lengths, with Mill House toiling in his wake. Mill House missed the 1966 Cheltenham Gold Cup with tendon trouble but, by that stage, Arkle was considered so far superior to his four rivals that he was sent off the shortest-priced favourite in the history of the race, at 1/10. Arkle gave his supporters an anxious moment when ploughing through the fence in front of the stands on the first circuit, but maintained his rhythm and eventually cantered home 30 lengths clear of his nearest pursuer, Dormant.

2014 Cheltenham Festival Results

Tuesday, March 11 (Old Course)

1.30pm SkyBet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
(Grade One) 2m 110yds £120,000
1 Vautour 7/2J
2 Josses Hill 14/1
3 Vaniteux 11/1
18 ran

2.05pm Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase
(Grade One) 2m £150,000
1 Western Warhorse 33/1
2 Champagne Fever 11/4 JF
3 Trifolium 11/4 JF
9 ran

2.40pm Baylis and Harding Affordable Luxury Handicap Chase
(Grade Three) 3m 110yds £90,000
1 Holywell 10/1
2 Ma Filleule 33/1
3 The Package 16/1
4 Green Flag 16/1
23 ran

3.20pm Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy
(Grade One) 2m 110yds £400,000
1 Jezki 9/1
2 My Tent Or Yours 3/1
3 The New One 100/30
9 ran

4.00pm OLBG Mares’ Hurdle
(Grade Two) 2m 4f £85,000
1 Quevega 8/11F
2 Glens Melody 14/1
3 L’unique 25/1
16 ran

4.40pm Terry Biddlecombe National Hunt Chase
(Amateurs) 4m £85,000
1 Midnight Prayer 8/1
2 Shotgun Paddy 7/2
3 Suntiep 9/1
15 ran

5.15pm Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase
(Listed) 2m 4f 110y £60,000
1 Present View 8/1
2 Attaglance 10/1
3 Pendra 8/1
4 Ahyaknowyerself 33/1
19 ran

Wednesday, March 12 (Old Course)
1.30pm Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle
(Grade One) 2m 5f £120,000
1 Faugheen 6/4
2 Ballyalton 20/1
3 Rathvinden 11/2
15 ran

2.05pm RSA Chase
(Grade One) 3m 110yds £150,000
1 O’Faolains Boy 12/1
2 Smad Place 13/2
3 Morning Assembly 9/1
15 ran

2.40pm Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle
(Grade Three) 2m 5f £80,000
1 Whisper 14/1
2 Get Me Out Of Here 12/1
3 Bayan 11/1
4 Smashing 25/1
5 Dell’ Arca 8/1F
28 ran

3.20pm BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase
(Grade One) 2m £350,000
1 Sire De Grugy 11/4F
2 Somersby 14/1
3 Module 20/1
11 ran

4.00pm Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase
(Handicap) 3m 7f £50,000
1 Balthazar King 4/1
2 Any Currency 10/1
3 Big Shu 3/1
4 Duke Of Lucca 25/1
16 ran

4.40pm Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
(Grade Three) 2m 110yds £75,000
1 Hawk High 33/1
2 Katgary 8/1
3 Orgilgo Bay 16/1
4 Keltus 25/1
24 ran

5.15pm Weatherbys Champion Bumper
(Grade One) 2m 110yds £60,000
1 Silver Concorde 16/1
2 Shaneshill 7/2F
3 Joshua Lane 33/1
4 Black Hercules 13/2
22 ran

Thursday, March 13 (New Course)
1.30pm JLT Novices’ Chase
(Listed Race) 2m 5f £120,000
1 Taquin Du Seuil 7/1
2 Uxizandre 33/1
3 Double Ross 11/1
12 ran

2.05pm Pertemps Network Final
(Listed Race) 3m £80,000
1 Fingal Bay 9/2F
2 Southfield Theatre 20/1
3 Pineau De Re 33/1
4 Trustan Times 33/1
24 ran

2.40pm Ryanair Chase
(Grade One) 2m 5f £275,000
1 Dynaste 3/1F
2 Hidden Cyclone 10/1
3 Rajdhani Express 18/1
11 ran

3.20pm Ladbrokes World Hurdle
(Grade One) 3m £275,000
1 More Of That 15/2
2 Annie Power 11/8F
3 At Fishers Cross 9/1
10 ran

4.00pm Byrne Group Plate Handicap Chase
(Grade Three) 2m 4f £90,000
1 Ballynagour 12/1
2 Colour Squadron 5/1F
3 Tatenen 33/1
4 Johns Spirit 9/1
23 ran

4.40pm Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase
(Amateurs) 3m 1f 110yds £60,000
1 Spring Heeled 12/1
2 Cause Of Causes 13/2
3 Roberto Goldback 16/1
4 Balnaslow 9/1
23 ran

5.15pm St Patrick’s Day Derby
(Charity Race) 1m 5f
1 Gifted Leader (Vicky Laing) 14/1
2 Church Field (Tom O’Neill) 7/1
3 Bally Longford (Sheikh Samir Mirdad) 6/4 F
12 ran

Friday, March 14 (New Course)
1.30pm JCB Triumph Hurdle Race
(Grade One) 2m 1f £120,000
1 Tiger Roll 10/1
2 Kentucky Hyden 20/1
3 Guitar Pete 7/1
15 ran

2.05pm Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle
(Grade Three) 2m 1f £80,000
1 Lac Fontana 11/1
2 Artic Fire 7/1
3 Montbazon 20/1
4 Diakali 25/1
28 ran

2.40pm Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
(Grade One) 3m £120,000
1 Very Wood 33/1
2 Deputy Dan 10/1
3 Apache Jack 20/1
18 ran

3.20pm Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup
(Chase) (Grade One) 3m 2f 110yds £550,000
Places remained unaltered after Stewards’ Enquiry
1 Lord Windermere 20/1
2 On His Own 16/1
3 The Giant Bolster 14/1
13 ran

4.00pm CGA Foxhunter Steeplechase
(Amateurs) 3m 2f 110yds £40,000
1 Tammy’s Hill 15/2
2 Carsonstown Boy 40/1
3 On The Fringe 11/2
24 ran

4.40pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
2m 4f 110yds £50,000 £50,000
1 Don Poli 12/1
2 Thomas Crapper 10/1
3 Caid Du Berlais 9/1
4 Urbain De Sivola 33/1
24 ran

5.15pm Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase
(Handicap) (Grade Three) 2m 110yds £90,000
1 Savello 16/1
2 Ned Buntline 6/1JF
3 Claret Cloak 6/1JF
3 Next Sensation 7/1
23 ran

2014 TOTAL PRIZE MONEY £3,825,000

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