A bay gelding by Archive, out of Bright Cherry, Arkle was bred at Ballymacoll Stud, County Meath by Mrs. Mary Alison Baker. Owned by Anne Grosvenor, Duchess of Westminster, Arkle was trained by Tom Dreaper at Greenogue, Kilsallaghan in County Dublin and ridden during his steeplechasing career by Pat Taffee.

At 212, his Timeform rating is the highest ever awarded to a steeplechaser.  Despite his career being cut short by injury he still won three Cheltenham Gold Cups, the Blue Riband of steeplechasing, and a host of other top prizes.

Arkle won 27 of his 35 starts and won at distances from 1m 6f up to 3m 5f. Legendary racing commentator Peter O'Sullevan has called Arkle a freak of nature — something unlikely to be seen again.

Arkle became a national legend in Ireland often referred to simply as "Himself", the story goes that he received items of fan mail addressed to 'Himself, Ireland'.

The government-owned Irish National Stud at Kildare has the skeleton of Arkle on display in its museum.