The Arkle Years event comprising memorabilia of the great horse, winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup [1964–1966], at Downpatrick racecourse proved a resounding success last week.
The event in advance of racing attracted many of the greats – past and present – including Willie Robinson, who partnered Mill House to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1963.
Mill House then had to settle as runner-up to Himself the following year in Arkle’s first Gold Cup.
Robinson proved himself a star at Downpatrick where he won Ulster Grand National in 1962 on the Queen Mother-owned Laffy during her visit to the province.
Paddy Woods who rode the great horse once and won, Johnny Lumley who was the stable lad to Arkle during his years at Tom Dreaper stables while Jim Dreaper who now trains from the stables also travelled from Ashbourne to revive memoirs of the Arkle Years.
The chairman of Downpatrick, Peter Stewart outlined plans for the season with the Toals Bookmakers Ulster Grand National – the feature race of the season at the local track being staged on Sunday 22nd March while the year will conclude with racing on Friday 16th followed by a Gala Byerley Turk Ball on Saturday evening.