Big Mac is back
Read McCririck’s outspoken column
“It transpired Arkle had broken his off-fore pedal bone. He would never race again”
From a pulsating Kempton on Boxing Day through all the other featured tracks, spectacular crowds were buzzing.
So why do so few become regulars?
In the late 1950s to get over the phoney goodwill and commercial exploitation of Xmas, I yearned for Kempton to end the misery.
And, as a bookie’s floorman (dogsbody) in the Kempton Park Silver Ring, 1966 had everything from drama to pathos.
Big screens, let along colour TV hadn’t arrived, the racecourse commentary was unintelligible and receding horses’ backsides were no way to judge close finishes. So when “on the shoulders at 2/9 on” Arkle “Himself ” or to a few moronic cynics, “Ankle”, landed five lengths in front at the last in the King George it aroused spectacular joy.
Without doubt – just marvel at his colossal achievements – the greatest chaser we will ever witness was announced as runner up to his old rival, Dormant, claiming 21lbs and “net” 10-1. Few could believe the outcome. It transpired Arkle had broken his off-fore pedal bone. He would never race again.
That King George was the most emotional and searing of them all. As on Wednesday the vibrant packed throng revelled in the excitement of racing as we imagined it always was.
Yet except for stalwarts, barely a handful will Come Racing again until next December.
They have enjoyed the best. We need them back again before then.
Emotionall: Arkle and jockey Pat Taaffe lead Dormant in the 1966 King George. Dormant won after the great Arkle broke a boneInset: Clan Des Obeaux and Harry Cobden beat Thistlecrack and Tom Scudamore to win Boxing Day’s race