Thoroughbred History

Racing in England dates back to 1074 and in the mid 1400’s even the Pope was the patron of racing. However, it has been the last 200 years that the Thoroughbred has emerged as the star, the Prima Donna.

The term "Thoroughbred" designates and defines a specific breed of horse registered in the stud book. The horse is a distinct breed kept pure for many generations.

Each Thoroughbred of today traces back to three (3) Middle Eastern stallions imported to Great Britain in the 1700's:

  • The Darley Arabian
  • The Byerly Turk
  • The Godolphin Arabian

It is a quirk of fate that the Darley Arabian was considered useless as a racehorse and never started in a race.

Other than siring the great and undefeated Flying Childers, he was not even a successful sire of winners. However, four generations later his line produced Eclipse, destined to become one of the greatest horses of all time. His male line became the strongest breeding line in the modern world and today more than 80% of modern Thoroughbreds including the great USA Racehorse Secretariat, are descended from him.

The incomparable Man O’War was among the 15% of the modern Thoroughbreds that descended from Matchem, a grandson of the Darley Arabian. This horse was a present from the Emperor of Morocco to the King of France before he came into the hands of Lord Godolphin in England.

The great Eclipse who left his mark on the entire breed, was so fiery tempered in his youth that he was almost gelded. Instead, he was loaned to a local rough rider who rode him by day for normal business and at night to raid neighbouring farms – he was the most renowned poacher in the district!

Whether the Thoroughbred performs as a top-class stakes winner or competes only at country racing level, the horse embodies a spirit and majesty not seen in any other equine. Whether the horse is racing for $3,000 to the winner or $2 million to the winner, the horse itself, puts in its best effort and in doing so provides a range of emotional highs and lows that is unequaled in any other business.

Racing is truly an international sport with the Thoroughbred as its centre. Breeding farms are abundant and can be found all over the country, as can racetracks, expert Thoroughbred trainers, veterinarians, jockeys and registered bloodstock agents. So, no matter where you call home, an opportunity to race the matchless Thoroughbred is near you.