Dundalk Stadium to honour Arkle’s triumph

Gavin McLaughlin

Reporter:

Gavin McLaughlin

DUNDALK Stadium will showcase the ‘Arkle Collection’ on Friday night to commemorate the great steeplechaser’s victory in the Wee County Handicap Hurdle at the track 50-years ago.

DUNDALK Stadium will showcase the ‘Arkle Collection’ on Friday night to commemorate the great steeplechaser’s victory in the Wee County Handicap Hurdle at the track 50-years ago.

October 17, 1962 was the day when the 6/1 chance, with Pat Taaffe on board, crossed the line first at the old grass-covered track to record his third career victory.

Arkle went on to claim the Irish Grand National, the Powers Gold Cup, three consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cups, the King George VI Gold Cup, the Hennessy Gold Cup and the Punchestown Gold Cup in a five-year career that saw him win 27 of his 35 races.

To mark the occasion, the Stadium has invited the family of Arkle’s trainer, Tom Dreaper, along with jockeys, stable guys and former associates of the great horse to the Dowdallshill venue on Friday evening.

Also present will be the Arkle Memorial Statue Committee, a fundraising group set up to gather finance for a statue dedicated to the horse known by many as ‘Himself’.

The life-size bronze statue of the horse and jockey Taaffe has been commissioned and will be erected in Ashbourne, Co Meath, where Arkle was born and bred.

However the centre-piece of the evening will be the showcasing of the ‘Arkle Collection’.

Usually based in Foley’s Antiques in Naas, Co Kildare, the collection of pictures and memorabilia includes material ranging from photographs and trophies won by jockey and horse to international fan mail addressed to Arkle.

Foley’s have also acquired the saddle which Taaffe rode Arkle to victory in the three Gold Cup successes between 1964-1966..

Emma Meehan, Sales and Marketing manager at Dundalk Stadium commented: “Arkle started the 1962-3 season by winning the Wee County Handicap Hurdle at Dundalk, and we felt it fitting to mark the 50th year since this win with an evening in his honour.

“There are only a small number of racecourses in Ireland who ever played host to ‘Himself’ and we are delighted that Dundalk forms part of Arkle’s extraordinary history.”

The collection is free to view at Dundalk Stadium this Friday, October 26 when the first of eight races gets underway at 6pm.

gavin@dundalkdemocrat.ie