Archive for October, 2019

The Darley Arabian

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The Darley Arabian

The Darley Arabian, was a handsome bay colt with a large white blaze and three white feet (the off-foreleg bay). Born in 1700, he stood 15 hands high.

Thomas Darley, the agent of an English mercantile company in Aleppo, Syria and, a member of a local hunting club, he purchased the colt, then two years old, for a very moderate sum.

Eighteen months later, he shipped him to his father, Richard Darley, to stand at Buttercrambe, now called Aldby Park, near York. After Richard Darley died in 1706, his eldest son Henry succeeded to Aldby and became owner of the Darley Arabian.

Both the sire and dam of the Darley Arabian belonged to the perfect Arabian strain of Managhi (also spelt Mannicka and Manicha).

The Darley Arabian was Champion Sire in 1722. His most important progeny were: Flying Childers (b.c. 1714), the first truly great racehorse and Champion Sire of 1730 and 1736, and his older brother, the unraced Bartlet’s Childers (b.c. 1716), who became Champion Sire in 1742.

His other important descendants were Eclipse (ch.c. 1764), winner of all his 18 races and from whom 97% of all thoroughbreds racing today descend; Pot-8-o’s (ch.c. 1773), sire of three Derby winners, incl. the Champion Sire, Waxy (b.c.1790), whose son Whalebone (br.c. 1807) emulated his father and perpetuated the line.

See below the sire-line  of the Darley Arabian. The colts are in Red, fillies in Green. Classic winners have date of victory in CAPS.

Key to Classics: Derby  (D); Oaks (O); St Leger (L); 2000 Guineas (2); 1000 Guineas (1); stars either side indicate Champion Sire.



The Byerley Turk

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 The Byerley Turk, a brown colt  born c1684, was taken from the Turkish Army at Buda in 1687, where obtained by Captain Robert Byerley of County Durham, who rode him at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. When the promoted Colonel Byerley retired from military service, the Byerley Turk, now thought to be an Arabian from all available portraits, was sent to stud, first at Midridge Grange, then from 1697, he stood at Goldsborough Hall, Knavesborough in Yorkshire.

His Notable Progeny were:

JIGG (Sir R. Mostyn’s) -.c. c1701 ex daughter of SPANKER. Sire of PARTNER ch.c. 1718, won 4 races and four times Champion Sire within 1737-1743.

BASTO (Sir W. Ramsden’s) b.c. 1703 ex BAY PEG by LEEDES ARABIAN. Ran only at Newmarket, where on separate occasions he beat SQUIRREL, BILLY, CHANCE, TANTIVY and BRISK over four miles or longer.

Also ARCHER (Duke of Rutland’s); BLACK HEARTY (Duke of Rutland’s); GRASSHOPPER -.c. c1695, won Town Plate, Nottingham and SPRITE (Duke of Kingston’s).

Famous descendants of the Byerley Turk include HEROD. HIGHFLYER and SIR PETER TEAZLE – In total Champion Sires for 31 years, the latter winning the Derby for the 12th Earl of Derby.



The colts are in Red, fillies in Green. Classic winners have date of victory in CAPS. Key to Classics: 2000 Guineas (2); 1000 Guineas (1); Derby (D); Oaks (O); St Leger (L); stars either side indicate Champion Sire.

The Godolphin Arabian

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The Godolphin Arabian


Registered first as an Arabian in the General Stud-Book 1791, and Pick, 1803. Volume I General Stud Book 1808 (page 516) states:

“That he was a genuine Arabian, his excellence as a Stallion is deemed a sufficient proof.”

THE Godolphin Arabian was foaled in the Yemen in 1724 (from Jilfan blood). A brown bay colt, with a little white on his off hind heel, and standing 14.3 hands high, he was exported via Syria to Tunis, as one of four horses to be presented by the Bey of Tunis to the King of France.Three of these were taken to the Brittany forests and turned out to improve the local stock. The fourth horse, the Godolphin Arabian, is popularly believed to have drawn a cart through the streets of Paris, where the Englishman, Edward Coke, is said to have purchased the six-year-old for £3. However, another source relates that Coke acquired the colt, via the French Court, through the Duke of Lorraine. Whichever version is true, Coke sent the horse to his estate at Longford Hall in Derbyshire.

When Edward Coke died in August 1733, aged only 32, he bequeathed his bloodstock to Roger Williams, the proprietor of the St James’s Coffee House in London, who also acted as a bloodstock agent. He then sold the Arabian, believed at the time to be named Shami, to Francis, 2nd Earl of Godolphin; the horse, thereafter, was known as the Godolphin Arabian.

Of the eye-witness accounts that survive, Vicomte de Manty, having seen the Arabian in France, described him as having “beautiful conformation, exquisitely proportioned with large hocks, well let down, with legs of iron…whose only flaw was being headstrong…his quarters broad in spite of being half starved, tail carried in true Arabian style”. His poor condition, referred to at the time, may have been due to his voyage from Tunis.

Later, in England, the well regarded author and veterinary surgeon William Osmer Wrote: ” There never was a well entitled to get racers as the Godolphin Arabian .. his shoulders were deeper, and lay farther into his back, than those of any horse yet seen. Behind the shoulders, there was but a very small space ere the muscles of his loins rose exceedingly high, broad, and expanded, which were inserted into his quarters with greater strength and power than in any horse…yet seen.”

There is no record of the Godolphin Arabian having ever raced; neither are there any details of his pedigree. At stud, however, he was an outstanding success, and, despite only siring about 80 foals in a stud career lasting 22 years, he was Champion Sire three times (1738, 1745 and 1747). Amongst his mates was the well-bred Roxana (born 1718), by the Champion Sire, Bald Galloway out of a sister to Chanter, who produced only three foals, two of them to the Godolphin Arabian: Lath (b.c.1732), who was unbeaten, and thought to be the best horse seen at Newmarket since Flying Childers (1715); and Cade (b.c. 1734), winner of a King’s Plate at Newmarket. Sadly, Roxana died two weeks after foaling Cade, who had to be reared with cow’s milk.

Later, three sons of the Godolphin Arabian dominated the sires’ list for almost 20 years: Cade, was Champion Sire five times; Regulus (b.c. 1739), eight times and Blank (b.c. 1740), three times. However, it was Cade’s son Matchem (b.c. 1748) who perpetuated the sire-line, winning eight races and being Champion Sire three consecutive years from 1772.

The Godolphin Arabian died at Gog Magog, near Cambridge, in December 1753, aged 29 years. He was given a wake with cakes and ale, and solemnly buried under a gateway at the stable. A stone slab marked his gravesite, which still exists today, within the Wandlebury Ring.

The lasting influence of the Godolphin Arabian in the pedigrees of the following generations can be gauged by the fact that, 50 years after his death, every one of the first 76 British Classic winners had at least one strain of him in their pedigree. Also, all but three of the 115 mares born in or before 1803 who went on to become dams of Classic winners, had also inherited the Godolphin’s genes.

See below the lineage chart of the Godolphin Arabian. Colts are in Red, fillies in Green. Classic winners with date of victory in CAPS.

Key to races won: 2000 Guineas (2); 1000 Guineas (1);  Derby  (D); Oaks (O); St Leger (L); King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (K); Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (A); while stars either side indicate Champion Sire.