The legacy of a horse, who deserves way more than the status of legend. The Godolphin Arabian, also known as the Goldophin Barb. He is one of three important foundations sires, that played a huge role in the creation, of modern Thoroughbred we have today. The other two were, the Darley Arabian and the Byerley Turk. In 1729 Edward Coke, a man who had many personal connections in France, imported an Arabian stallion from there, into England and stood him at his Longford Hall Stud in Derbyshire. The stallion was bay, and had some white on the off heel behind. He was not a very big horse at all, standing just 15 hands high, but what set him apart from the other stallions at the stud, was his unnaturally high crest. The Godolphin Arabian was initially used as a teaser stallion, a stallion used to test a mares receptiveness, to find out whether she was ready to be covered or not. Suddenly that all changed.
Lady Roxana, a mare who had won three races in 1727, was retired to stud in 1731, and was set to be covered by Edward Coke's, Hobgoblin. Lady Roxana was sired by one of the most influential broodmare sires of the period, Bald Galloway. Hobgoblin was one of the most talented racehorses of his day, he won several important match races, inculding a race over four miles for 500 guineas, when he beat Mr Fleetwood's Eaton. Roxanna was clearly not very impressed with Hobgoblin, as she did not allow him to cover her, and so it was that the Godolphin Arabian was given his chance as a sire, when he was allowed to cover the mare after Hobgoblin's rejection. In 1732 Lady Roxana foaled down a bay colt by the Godolphin Arabian, and he would go on to become the greatest racehorse of his generation, and the best since the legendary Flying Childers, who is considered the first truly great racehorse in the history of the Thoroughbred. He was Lady Roxana and the Goldophin Arabian's first born son, and his name was Lath. 1733 was a year of mixed emotions, Lady Roxana and The Godolphin Arabian's owner/Lath's breeder, Edward Coke passed on at the very young age of 32, and this brought a great deal of change. Edward Coke's small group of mares and foals, were given to his close friend and fellow horsemen Francis, the second Earl of Godolphin, whilst the stallions the Godolphin Arabian, Whitefoot and Hobgoblin were give to another personal friend, Roger Williams. Not very long after the passing of Edward Coke, in fact in the same year, The Godolphin Arabian was acquired by the Earl, and became known as The Godolphin Arabian from then on.
The Godolphin Arabian was moved to the Earl's stud, near Babraham in the Gog Magog Hills in Cambridgeshire, not far from the racing town of Newmarket. Lady Roxanna foaled down another colt that year, by the great racehorse Flying Childers, his name was Roundhead. The Final twist in the story of Lady Roxana, was that she passed on just days after foaling down a second bay colt by the Godolphin Arabian in 1734, but as there is death, there is life, and Cade who was reared on cows milk until he was ready to graze in the paddocks as an independent horse, grew into a lovely specimen, similar to his full brother, Lath.
Racing was very different in those years, they ran over much further distances than they do today, it was not unusual for horses to run in four mile races, and races even further than that. Horses did not commonly race as two year olds, they normally began there racing careers at the age of four or five. In 1737 Lath went to the races for the first time as a four year old colt, and put his sire on the map!
LATH 1732 bay colt by The Godolphin Arabian out of Lady Roxana by Bald Galloway.
- Won the Great Stakes at Newmarket of 1,000 Guineas
- Beat Little Partner in a four mile match race for 200 Guineas
- Beat Squirt over four miles for 200 Guineas
- Won a 50 Guineas Plate at Marlborough
The Godolphin Arabian became champion sire for the first time in 1738, and there was no turning back for the once inferior stallion, who was now a hero of the sport. Cade's career on the track was not half as successful as his brother's had been, but one thing that is a common factor in this story, is its twists. Cade's career began in 1740, three years after his superstar full brother's debut.
CADE 1734 bay colt by The Godolphin Arabian out of Lady Roxana by Bald Galloway.
- Defeated Sedbury to win the Kings Plate
- Ran second to Sedbury in the Kings Plate
- Ran second in a 50 pound race to Molorro
- Ran Third to Bucephalus in a 50 Guineas Plate
It was through Cade and not Lath, that The Godolphin Arabian achieved his ultimate success at stud, success as a grandsire. Cade went onto become one of the greatest sires of his era at stud, he may have been an even better stallion, than his own sire! He was champion sire in Great Britain and Ireland, during the years of 1752, 1753, 1758, 1759 and 1760. Cade ensured that the Godolphin Arabian would not just be remembered as a sire of great racehorses which he truly was, through his next two sires championships, which came in the years 1745 and 1747, the Godolphin Arabian sired some very good colts on the track, including Babraham (undefeated), Bajazet, Dormouse (undefeated) and Dismal (undefeated). Cade sired the iconic Matchem, and it is through him that the male line continues to the present day.
In horse breeding there is something called "nicking", repeating a proven mating over and over again, and who can blame breeders that do this, it is effective, yet very simple. This was the case with The Godolphin Arabian's greatest son to ever race, Regulus.
REGULUS 1739 bay colt out of Grey Robinson by "Bald Galloway" - sire of Lady Roxana, the dam of the unbeaten Lath as well as King's Plate winner, and legendary sire Cade.
- He was undefeated in nine starts, he won eight royal plates in 1745 and a 50 Guineas plate. He was champion sire in Great Britain and Ireland during the years of 1754, 1755, 1756, 1757, 1761, 1763, 1765, 1766, he was a truly great stallion. He died at the age of 26.
The Godolphin Arabian was a horse of exquisite beauty and quality, he had deep shoulders, that laid further into his back, than any other horse seen before him, the muscles of his loins rose excessively high, they were very broad and expansive. His quarters were powerful and had great strength. The Godolphin Arabian is a timeless legend, and has lived on through greats such as Seabiscuit, Man O War, and Silky Sullivan. He passed on at the age of 29 at the Earl's stud in the Gog Magog Hills of Cambridgeshire, and his grave still stands today in the stable block of Wandlebury House. The Godolphin Arabian was a lover of all animals, but he loved his friend Grimalkin, the stable cat more than any other being on this earth. The Godolphin Arabian, a father of the Thoroughbred!