Sport: Q&A - Arkle the greatest by a distance

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Q. The two greatest horses in National Hunt racing over the last 50 years are Arkle and Red Rum. What is the origin of the names of these two greats?

A. It's sacrilege to mention Arkle and Red Rum in the same breath, or letter. Arkle was a phenomenon. His total dominance of the Cheltenham Gold Cup is in the record books. But it was his record in handicaps which confirms his status as the undisputed greatest of all time. Raceweights automatically had Arkle at the top and every other chaser off the minimum. And he still beat them. The rules of racing had to be changed to accommodate Arkle. Two sets of weights were issued: one for if Arkle ran, one if he didn't.

Red Rum's greatness was only in one race, with an unusual distance and unique obstacles - the Grand National. In other races he was a mediocre chaser who was rarely even placed.

Kevin Carter,


A. The name Red Rum is derived from the last three letters of each of the names of the horse's parents. The dam was Mared, the sire was Quorum.

J M Shepley,



Q. Is it possible to say which sportsperson or sports team has received the highest earnings for a one-off event in the last 97 years?

Kevin Maguire,


Q. Which football, or rugby, team has experienced the worst Christmas ever for results?

Dennis Hurlihy,


If you know the answers to any of these questions or have a sporting question of your own, write to Q&A, Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL. Fax: 0171-293 2894