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Read McCrir­ick’s out­spo­ken col­umn

The Racing Paper - - Front Page - JOHN McCRIR­ICK

“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

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