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Reply To: Arkle; was he that good?

Home Forums Horse Racing Arkle; was he that good? Reply To: Arkle; was he that good?

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An interesting thread. I was in my early teens during Arkle’s heyday thus I was unable to compare him with Golden Miller, but I’d have to say there has been no better 3+ mile chaser since Arkle.<br> Comparing times  between generations separated by a large number of years becomes futile as different training methods, veterinary techniques, riding styles, changes to courses and fences (eg Water Jumps being phased out) etc. make the comparisons  worthless.<br>Two horses can win the same race, in the same time, carrying the same weight in two different years; it’s the manner of their winning that will make people say one is better than the other. Perhaps we can discern when a horse  "just" wins from and  when a horse wins with class and style. Arkle oozed class and superiority.<br>As for improvement to the breed. It is wholly incorrect to say that, simply because we continue "selective" breeding that the best horses today are superior to the best horses of yesteryear. In spite of veterinary advances, can we really say thoroughbreds now are "better" than, say, 100 years ago ? It might well be that the longer "selective" breeding goes on purely to improve "speed" then the creature becomes inferior ; less hardy, more prone to particular illnesses (as with breeds of dogs).  Has there been a filly capable of matching the feats of Sceptre in 1902 ? Not just in terms of winning classics but also in terms of hardiness, versatility and soundness?  I doubt it – even if you could find an owner or trainer prepared to campaign a top filly as Sceptre was campaigned. It is generational snobbery to presume the present is superior to the past. <br>To end my rant, let me  turn to the subject of Timeform ratings in comparing generations. The highest rated flat performer since Timeform’s inception  according to their  Racehorses of yyyy annual is Sea Bird. But I know   that  at least one other horse often beat Sea Bird’s rating but was downrated when it came to the annual for fear of "devaluing" the "gold standard" of Sea Bird.  <br>

(Edited by insomniac at 7:35 pm on Dec. 11, 2006)