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Arkle; was he that good?

Home Forums Horse Racing Arkle; was he that good?

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  • #33361
    SwallowCottage
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    RD – What are your reasons for putting Desert Orchid at number one. He was a very good chaser but actually lost more races than he won. Only won the GC once and saved his best performances for the easy Kempton track which some would argue is not a true test of a chaser’s stamina.<br>

    #33362
    Racing Daily
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    The order is not based on anything more than what sprung to mind first :)

    #33363
    The Market Man
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    Quote: from davidjohnson on 6:37 pm on Dec. 11, 2006[br]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.  <br>

    <br>I think in terms of assessing form its sometimes a little bit like using statistics you can often make out of it what you want to depending on your interpretation. I use my ratings to aid me with finding future winners. Generally horses usually when developed run reasonably consistantly. Sometimes they’ll run below form but when they run to form they usually run to between a few pounds of their rating. Of course this doesn’t apply always without exception horses aren’t machines so its a bit of a generalisation. However take last seasons 1m4f Group 1 horses. Pretty much every time they ran they all ran somewhere between 123 and 128. I can’t see how based on one performance a horse can shoot up over a stone on his other ten / twelve (whatever) runs, its just not realistic. It’s a figure that needs totally ignoring if you’re going to use figures to aid you in finding future winners. If a horse runs five times over (say) 1 mile and runs to 120-124 how can it suddenly run one race in (almost) identical conditions to a mark of 135? Usually its because either the race was run on ground that other horses didn’t handle, against horses that were relatively unfit or just didn’t run to form.

    #33364
    SirHarryLewis
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    Quote: from The Market Man on 6:32 pm on Dec. 11, 2006[br]I’d back Dessie over a flat right handed three miles.

    <br>

    Perhaps but most people old enough to remember both would not only not fancy Desert Orchid, they wouldnt give him a prayer.  They would point at Arkle holding the track record at Sandown under 12stone 7 at one stage, I wonder how much they changed the course since and how that adds up now?? There was also the course record at cheltenham, again extraordinary that a lesser weighted horse in a handicap wouldnt have that at the time.

    I have a feeling that people who quesion him are by and large quite young and indeed a few years ago I read a book about him because I had never really thougt about himself other then that he was supposed to have beaten some other great horse in Mill House.  The thing that became clear is that at the time, he was undoubtedly the best there ever had been and almost everyone accepted that.  Now, how many sportstars can we look at and say without any doubth, he is the greatest champion ever and not get a barrage of possibilites back??  The reason behind the lack of debate at the time is that he had simply achieved too many things that were thought impossible.    <br>    

    Perhaps if we magically could put him up against Best Mate, Desert Orchid  et al. in a race, he would lose but we cant and we can really only say that he was much further ahead of the average racehorse at the time then any of those were

    SHL

    #33365
    insomniac
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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)

    #33366
    Venusian
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    I was at Newbury in 1964 when Arkle won the Hennessy under 12.7, annihilating the rest of the field in a manner that almost beggared belief.

    There were gasps from racegoers when he charged to the front with about a circuit to run.

    I didn’t think it was possible to witness a better performance by a chaser, until he won the Gallagher Gold Cup at Sandown – that must have been the best ever, by any racehorse, anywhere.

    #33367
    The Market Man
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    Quote: from insomniac on 7:33 pm on Dec. 11, 2006[br] 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)<br>

    <br>Which horse was this Insomniac?

    #33368
    Racing Daily
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    Young Mick? :biggrin:

    #33369
    insomniac
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    Brigadier Gerard; returned figures using Timeform’s method of assessment that rated him above Sea Bird on a few occassions. Great sighs of relief in Halifax when he was stuffed by the much under-rated, top-class Roberto at York. Gave them a hook on which a 1lb inferior rating to sea Bird could hang.  

    #33370
    clivex
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    Only won the GC once and saved his best performances for the easy Kempton track which some would argue is not a true test of a chaser’s stamina

    I think the whitbread and the irish national were though….<br>

    #33371
    Racing Daily
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    Quote: from insomniac on 7:55 pm on Dec. 11, 2006[br]Brigadier Gerard; returned figures using Timeform’s method of assessment that rated him above Sea Bird on a few occassions. Great sighs of relief in Halifax when he was stuffed by the much under-rated, top-class Roberto at York. Gave them a hook on which a 1lb inferior rating to sea Bird could hang.  <br>

    By that example, shouldn’t Hawkwing have been rated on his worst performance too (rather than his one time best)?

    #33372
    Grimes
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    I think Arkle was to NH as Secretariat was to the Flat. On a different planet.

    I’ve seen recordings of both: Arkle slaughtering Mill House and wanting to go round again. And I’d been thinking he seemed a heck of a long way behind.

    Didn’t they have to reframe the weights for a big handicap, so that he carried 12-7. And almsot the whole field was still out of the handicap?

    I believe it was discovered later that his heart was physically outsized, which I suppose would be characteristic of a champion. It was of the Aussie flat-race champion, Far Lap, I think. Also, Big Red, as his owner called Secretariat.

    (Edited by Grimes at 9:19 pm on Dec. 11, 2006)

    #33373
    Sailing Shoes
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    Quote: from NWRA on 5:16 pm on Dec. 11, 2006[br]So, was Arkle actually any better than Thisthatandtother?

    In a word, yes.

    #33374
    Galejade
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    I am almost ashamed to admit that I was in my 20’s when Arkle was in his pomp and the best comparison that I can come up with is that he was the Don Bradman of horseracing.

    Don Bradman had a test batting average of 99.8 and if he hadn’t got a duck in his last test when an old man he would have had an average of 100 ( and that on wickets which were uncovered overnight and were nowhere near as well prepared as todays) cf that average to the greats such as Viv Richards  etc and you see he was in a different league.

    Towards the end of his career Arkle got beaten by a whisker by Stallbridge Colonist giving him 35lbs who then came out and won a Group 1 in his next race.

    In one of his gold cups he won by 30 lengths – I always remember this because there was no betting on the result and I backed him to win a distance. I thought the definition of a distance was 30 lengths but the judge posted 30 lengths and none of us got paid out!

    You can of course pick holes with Timeform – all ratings are necessarily subjective – but they are consistent from year to year and normally 5-7lbs above the Official rating. Even Timeform cannot be 19lbs out on the amount they have him above Mill House who from memory was the 2nd best 3miler( flyingbolt ran to my memory over 16 and 20f) they have rated.

    Arkle was simply unbelivable. he had no great acceleration but just ground all opposition into the dirt by galloping and jumping at what appeared to be a fairly even pace throughout.

    I for one have never seen the like and when I started the thread on Kauto Star (who has impressed me immeasurably) not even I would put him within 20lbs of Arkle.  So sorry to all you youngsters! not everything was better in the 60’s by a long long chalk ( in fact I cannoy think of many things ) but Arkle was! ( IMHO).

    #33375
    FlatSeasonLover
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    To ask a thick question what was Arkle rated by Timeform?

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