The late Pat Taaffe, who died in 1992, aged 62, following a heart transplant the previous year, will always be remembered for his association with Arkle, arguably the greatest steeplechaser of all time. As far as the Cheltenham Festival is concerned, Taaffe rode Arkle to win the Broadway Novices’ Chase, now the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, in 1963 and the Cheltenham Gold Cup three years running, in 1964, 1965 and 1966. A record that if translated to any other sphere, such as the real money casino world, would see you running away with riches!
Taaffe won the Cheltenham Gold Cup again in 1968 on Fort Leney, trained, like Arkle, by Tom Dreaper. He remains the most successful jockey in the history of the ‘Blue Riband’ event, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, which he won five times between 1960 and 1970 and the aforementioned Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, which he also won five times between 1953 and 1970. Indeed, Taaffe won the Queen Champion Chase in 1966 on Flyingbolt, who was rated inferior only to Arkle, according to Timeform.
All told, Pat Taaffe rode 25 winners at the Cheltenham Festival, all bar two of which were over fences; five decades after his retirement from the saddle, he remains fourth in the all-time list, behind only Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty and Tony McCoy. Of course, Taaffe was also Irish Champion National Hunt jockey nine times and won the Grand National twice, on Quare Times, trained by Vincent O’Brien, in 1955 and Gay Trip, trained by Fred Rimell, in 1970. With a championship standard demonstrated in both Ireland and England he had little else to prove. This was long before the best usa online casino era, but if it had been you can bet the reels would be bringing in three sevens for Pat! The man had a winning way about him. That can certainly not be denied.