The Legend of 'Himself'

Written by Anne Holland, Foreword by Jim Dreaper

In 1964 Arkle's win in the Cheltenham Gold Cup marked the start of an incredible campaign by Ireland’s most legendary racehorse. Fifty years on from his incredible wins, Anne Holland looks at Arkle’s career, which has never been surpassed.


Horse Racing Book of the Year - 2014

British Sports Book Awards - Short-listed

E-Book (ePub): €9.99
ISBN: 9781847176110

Category: Biography/Memoir, Sport

In 1964, Arkle's first-place finish in the Cheltenham Gold Cup was the first big win by Ireland's most celebrated racehorse: the horse by which all others are measured. Fifty years on from the start of his incredible career - which included wins in the Cheltenham Gold Cup (three times), Irish Grand National, Hennessy Gold Cup, King George VI Chase and Punchestown Gold Cup - Anne Holland looks at Arkle's life and legend through the eyes of those who knew him best.

She describes Arkle's career, his incredible wins, and the people involved with him, interviewing many of his connections, including Jim Dreaper, Paddy Woods, Tom Taaffe, sculptor Emma McDermott, the Baker family and others. Arkle was a star - the story goes that he received items of fan mail addressed to 'Himself, Ireland' - and this is a well-researched and intimate portrait of a legendary horse.

Shortlisted for Horse Racing Book of the Year 2014, British Sports Book Awards

Anne Holland

Anne Holland was a successful amateur rider who once rode at Aintree on Grand National day. She has written many books on horse-racing including Steeplechasing: A Celebration, The Grand National: The Irish At Aintree and All in the Blood.

a wonderful reminder

The Irish Echo


Irish Examiner

The Irish Field readers will enjoy [Anne Holland’s] book on the mighty Arkle

The Irish Field

retelling of the story is timely

The Irish Field

[the] author has uncovered quite a few new anecdotes

Ireland’s Own

an enjoyable and engaging read

Horse and Hound

Holland pulls off with aplomb the difficult task of writing about an animal without lapsing into anthropomorphic sentimentality. Throughout her book, Arkle remains a horse – but what a horse!

The Lady

just how special Arkle was is spelled out in glorious detail

Westmeath Examiner

it wasn’t just racing fans that loved Arkle – and it won’t be just racing fans that will enjoy this book

Westmeath Examiner

very entertaining … terrific book

The Pat Kenny Show

the memories evoked by Holland in this excellent new work on Arkle's illustrious career are such that the mind's eye sees them afresh in glorious Technicolor

Kingsley Klarion

Holland is to be congratulated on unearthing a trove of anecdotes and opinions which lend the book a real vitality. Jim Dreaper, son of Arkle's trainer Tom, has written the foreword and acknowledges that much of the information she has unearthed is new to him

Kingsley Klarion

It was pleasing to read that Arkle, and Pat Taaffe, are to be immortalised in bronze in Ashbourne, Co Meath, by sculptress Emma MacDermott. I hope the statue will be as fitting a tribute to a true equine superstar as Holland's book deserves to be

Kingsley Klarion

Also by Anne Holland:

The Grand National
Festival Fever

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