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Arkle; was he that good?

Home Forums Horse Racing Arkle; was he that good?

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  • #547
    NWRA
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    First, the preamble: back in the early 1980s, when ‘the internet’ was two men in a shed talking about snuff, when Lee Mottershead was first discovering the potential of using a word multiple times in the same paragraph (like he’s Charles Dickens or somethink)… Liverpool FC were highly successful.

    However, I believe that if the 1980’s Liverpool FC played 2006’s Liverpool FC (who are comparatively unsuccessful, and underachievers, despite winning the Champions League a bit ago), the latter would thrash the former. The standards are far, far higher nowadays; the players are much fitter, quicker and stronger. The skilled heroes of yesteryear would be only average today, because they wouldn’t have the advantage of playing against fat blokes who turn with the grace of battleships.

    My point: does anyone else think this maybe the same with horses? Surely the breed has evolved throughout the decades due to advances in breeding and training methods? Arkle this, Arkle that… but what were the standards in his time? I bet they were s**t

    e.

    I once asked my granddad what he thought about Arkle; I was expecting our vision to turn sepia-tinged, and the sounds of an invisible violin, while he earnestly told me about his memories of a Super Horse… instead, he said: ‘he was visually impressive, but they were all bloody brewery horses in those days’. Was there a grain of truth in this statement or was it only the brainwrong of a confused, mothball devotee?

    So, was Arkle actually any better than Thisthatandtother?<br>

    #33347
    The Market Man
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    Interesting topic.

    I take your point about footballers and I suppose to a degree the same thing applies to racehorses they’re all fitter now than they were in Arkle’s day.

    I wasn’t around in Arkle’s day but I’ve always been somewhat sceptical of just how brilliant Arkle was. Horse racing has been going on for years yet f you listen to general concensus the best two horses in history in either code were Arkle and Sea Bird – both in the 1960’s. It seems to me that the 60’s are the era everyone refers to. The music was best in the 60’s, the football was best, the horses were best etc etc.

    Arkle beat Mill House, am I being naive in asking about the strength of the rest of Arkle’s opposition?

    I don’t usualy like voicing an opinion on something I didn’t see or wasn’t around to judge for myself.

    #33348
    clivex
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    Oh lord…here we go :o

    Personally, i am not sure he even existed. Dont trust those black and white films myself

    #33349
    roland
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    I was thinking of starting such a thread on the evolution of sport and how it seems only in horse racing are we going backwards. However like most of my potential threads they stop after the first line coz i’m simply a lazy b*stard.

    My comparison was going to be with running/athletics. Pick whatever distance you like we continue break records and get better. The best way to record horses achievements though differs since every horse may carry a different weight over differing goings and courses.<br>My point being that only timeform seem to have applied fairly standard criteria for us to compare horses of different generations. Are they accurate? i dont know but like you say they have arlke and flyingbolt way out in front.

    #33350
    NWRA
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    Quote: from The Market Man on 5:24 pm on Dec. 11, 2006[br]I don’t usualy like voicing an opinion on something I didn’t see or wasn’t around to judge for myself. <br>

    Ah, don’t worry about that… I do it all of the time!

    I agree with your point about the difficulty of separating facts from the general romanticisation of the 1960s.

    Although, I bet it really was a marvellous decade if you was young, white, rich and lived in specific areas of London or Liverpool.  

    #33351
    The Market Man
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    Quote: from roland on 5:47 pm on Dec. 11, 2006[br]<br>My point being that only timeform seem to have applied fairly standard criteria for us to compare horses of different generations. Are they accurate? i dont know but like you say they have arlke and flyingbolt way out in front.

    <br>Don’t get me started on Timeform. I’m sure Prufrock thinks I’m here to make his life a misery lol and I apologise to him for constant sniping at the organisation but Timeform just puzzle me for the most part I would never trust / use their ratings for anything despite Jim McGrath’s seemingly arrogant attitude towards anyone that ever has the bravery to question the accuracy of Timeform’s ratings.

    #33352
    NWRA
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    Quote: from clivex on 5:42 pm on Dec. 11, 2006[br]Oh lord…here we go :o

    Personally, i am not sure he even existed. Dont trust those black and white films myself <br>

    Yes! Arkle may have been invented by nostalgic bores as a means of downplaying the hype about every contemporary champion. I bet the government were involved too.<br>

    #33353
    davidjohnson
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    Historically I know you have issues with Celtic Swing TMM. Any other specific ones that lead you to this opinion?

    #33354
    Racing Daily
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    • Total Posts 1364

    I personally think that, in a fantasy 3m2f chase comprised of the best 12 chasers of recent and yester year, Arkle wouldn’t necessarily win it.  You have to remember that a horses ‘greatness’ is only ever measured by how far he/she is/was ahead of his own generation.<br>I don’t think there would be a lot in it, if the following race were possible …

    1   Desert Orchid<br>2   Arkle<br>3   Golden Miller<br>4   Dawn Run<br>5   Best Mate<br>6   Mandarin<br>7   Special Cargo<br>8   Mill House<br>9   Burrough Hill Lad<br>10 Flyingbolt<br>11 Forgive N Forget<br>12 Alverton

    To tell the truth, there is no way to know who the best would be.  Just like if you tried to compare Badsworth Boy to Moscow Flyer.

    #33355
    SirHarryLewis
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    Quote: from The Market Man on 5:24 pm on Dec. 11, 2006[br]Interesting topic.

    I take your point about footballers and I suppose to a degree the same thing applies to racehorses they’re all fitter now than they were in Arkle’s day.

    I wasn’t around in Arkle’s day but I’ve always been somewhat sceptical of just how brilliant Arkle was. Horse racing has been going on for years yet f you listen to general concensus the best two horses in history in either code were Arkle and Sea Bird – both in the 1960’s. It seems to me that the 60’s are the era everyone refers to. The music was best in the 60’s, the football was best, the horses were best etc etc.

    Arkle beat Mill House, am I being naive in asking about the strength of the rest of Arkle’s opposition?

    I don’t usualy like voicing an opinion on something I didn’t see or wasn’t around to judge for myself. <br>

    <br>THe whole mill reef thing is one aspect but what about everything else.  

    http://www.geocities.com/jdgxxxx/index.html

    No doubt but he achieved extraordinary things at the time and who knows, a serious look  at the times etc might reveal an evolution of horses that are better now in the same way of athletes are.  But  thats rather missing the point, i might be able to achieve more now as scientist then Newton did but why is he a pillar of the community and a representation of aspects that are great? ??  Because he was ahead of everybody else at the time.  

    Im pretty sure when he beat mill house first time, he broke the track record so I suppose its hard to argue with that.  And didnt he hold the track record at sandown for a long time????

    SHL

    #33356
    The Market Man
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    • Total Posts 396

    Quote: from davidjohnson on 6:00 pm on Dec. 11, 2006[br]Historically I know you have issues with Celtic Swing TMM. Any other specific ones that lead you to this opinion?

    <br>Dubai Millennium 140 – (Though at this point I must emphasise I only deal with turf. I had him 133.

    <br>Mark Of Esteem 137 – (puts him way higher for example than George Washington)  (I get 129)

    Hawk Wing 136 – (On the back of what? One run against mediocre opposition. I have 128)

    Intikhab 135  – Almost as ridiculous as Celtic Swing’s rating. On the back of what? One win against again nothing better than average opposition. This horse could barely achieve a rating above 120 on any other performance yet one performance raises him to 135 which again puts him above the likes of George Washington). He wouldnt have beaten GW I’d’ve bet anyone my entire savings on that.

    <br>You’re talking a master rating of half a stone more than I can understand. I don’t pretend to be any great brain but I use my own ratings which make far more sense to me and give me way better results than Timeforms do and yes I have compared them. They’re plain baffling. Their baffling ratings have Inktihab in a photo finish with El Gran Senor over a mile for example. LMAO absolutely not a cat in hells chance unless El Gran Senor carried at the very, very least half a stone more.  

    <br>and thats just their top rated horses. To go into detail on lesser horses would take way more time than I have.

    #33357
    SirHarryLewis
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    Quote: from Racing Daily on 6:18 pm on Dec. 11, 2006[br]I personally think that, in a fantasy 3m2f chase comprised of the best 12 chasers of recent and yester year, Arkle wouldn’t necessarily win it.  You have to remember that a horses ‘greatness’ is only ever measured by how far he/she is/was ahead of his own generation.<br>I don’t think there would be a lot in it, if the following race were possible …

    1   Desert Orchid<br>2   Arkle<br>3   Golden Miller<br>4   Dawn Run<br>5   Best Mate<br>6   Mandarin<br>7   Special Cargo<br>8   Mill House<br>9   Burrough Hill Lad<br>10 Flyingbolt<br>11 Forgive N Forget<br>12 Alverton

    To tell the truth, there is no way to know who the best would be.  Just like if you tried to compare Badsworth Boy to Moscow Flyer.<br>

    By the way, I do believe that arkle was definitly further ahead in handicapping terms at the time then Desert orchid.

    SHL

    #33358
    Racing Daily
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    • Total Posts 1364

    I think Burrough Hill Lad would be a live outsider in such a race :)<br>Anyone capable of pricing up this fantasy contest? ;)

    #33359
    The Market Man
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    • Total Posts 396

    I’d back Dessie over a flat right handed three miles.

    #33360
    davidjohnson
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    • Total Posts 4491

    Three of the four you mention are a few years before my interest and knowledge of racing are what they are now so I only really feel confident enough talking about Hawk Wing. I think that horse will always divide opinion he also had an RPR of 134 so it doesn’t look to be awild figure. It could be even higher considering how the field were stretched out. He had bits of form at 3 as well that suggested that given his ideal conditions he was possibly capable of such a figure, namely the ground he made up in the Guineas and pulling 12 lengths clear of the Dubai World Cup winner in the Derby.  

    Edited to add further research shows his last BHB mark was 137. <br>

    (Edited by davidjohnson at 6:52 pm on Dec. 11, 2006)

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