Alison Baker, link with great racehorse Arkle, dies in her 100th year

Story by John Donohoe

Thursday, 23rd May, 2019 4:15pm

Alison Baker, link with great racehorse Arkle, dies in her 100th year

Patricia Dreaper (left), wife of trainer Jim, with Alison Baker at the unveiling of the Arkle statue in 2014. Photo: Seamus Farrelly

The death has occurred of Alison Mary Baker of Naul in north County Dublin, the last original link with the great racehorse Arkle, bred by her family.
She was in her 100th year, and died peacefully in the presence of her family. 
Her mother, Mary, bred Arkle at their home at Malahow by Archive out of Bright Cherry, and he was delivered as a foal at Ballymacoll Stud, Dunboyne, by the late Dan Daly of The Bush, Dunshaughlin. 
At Goff’s bloodstock Sales in August 1960, Greenogue trainer Tom Dreaper bought him for one of his owners, the Duchess of Westminster, who had an estate at Bryanstown, near Maynooth. 
Arkle and a contemporary horse, Ben Stack, were named after Scottish mountains by the Duchess.
Between 1962 and 1966, 'Himself'' associated with jockey Pat Taaffe was to win 22 of his 26 chases, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times, Hennessy Gold Cup twice, Whitbread Gold Cup, King George VI Chase and the Irish Grand National, before injury ended his career early.
At the unveiling of the Arkle statue in Ashbourne in 2014, Alison Baker was presented with a scale version of Emma McDermott's piece to mark her 94th birthday. Ms Baker was a "keeper of the flame" of the legend of Arkle.

Daughter of the late TK and Mary Baker, she was predeceased by her siblings, Dodo, Pidgie, June and Harry.
She is survived by her nieces and nephews, Jeanne, Susan, Patricia, Judy, Nicola, David and John, nieces and nephews-in-law, grandnieces, grandnewphews, and many friends.
She is reposing at her home this Thursday evening, 23rd May, from 5pm to 7pm, with a funeral service tomorrow at 11am in St Patrick's Church, Donabate. 

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