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  Foundation Sires of the Thoroughbred: Place's White Turk
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According to the General Stud Book, Place's White Turk "was the property of Mr. Place, stud-master to Oliver Cromwell, when Protector, and was sire of Wormwood, possible (Old/Croft's) Commoner, and the great granddams of Wyndham, Grey Ramsden, and Cartouch." He is probably also the same horse known as the "white stallion" belonging to Oliver Cromwell.

He was imported to England in November, 1657, from Aleppo by Nicholas Baxter, the King's Gentleman of Horse [C.M. Prior Early Records of the Thoroughbred Horse; c.f. Hore, Vol. II, p. 213], although it's possible he arrived via France. Rowland Place was the Master of the Horse to the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, and upon Cromwell's death in 1658, Place took the horse home to his family seat, the estate at Dinsdale, on the Durham - Yorkshire border, just ten miles from the D'Arcy stud at Sedbury.

Some speculate that Place's White Turk is one and the same as Darcy's White Turk, considering several D'Arcy bloodline connections and the close proximity of the D'Arcy's stud at Sedbury. It is possible that James D'Arcy (the elder, and possibly the younger, as well) patronized the stallion as well as his own White Turk, but the dates don't make it feasible for these to be the same horse. The Darcy White Turk was covering mares c.1690, at which time, Place's White Turk would have been well over 30 years old.

The White Turk's leading offspring was the good runner Wormwoo. The GSB also credits him with siring (Old/Crofts's) Commoner, although other sources, including contemporary prints of near-relatives, indicate Commoner's sire was the D'Arcy White Turk. (Old/Crofts's) Commoner sired Wharton's Commoner, and the famous Commoner mare, the dam of the noted Firetail, attributed with the remarkable time of a mile in a minute, 4 seconds.

Daughters of Place's White Turk proved to carry the line on to more influential ends, as he appears as the sire of at least five mares in the GSB including several at the very beginning of some foundation families, including the dam of the Coppin Mare (Family #28), whose only foal of record was a filly by Crofts's Commoner. Place's White Turk sired a daughter of Tregonwell's Natural Barb Mare (Family #1), who produced a daughter of the Taffolet or Morocco Barb, dam of a Byerly Turk mare, the first mare from this family with an entry in the GSB.

Perhaps his most noteworthy product was the Sedbury Royal Mare, founder of Family #11, dam of Hutton's Royal Colt and of Miss Darcy's Pet Mare, who appears five times in the pedigree of Eclipse. The Sedbury Royal Mare is speculated to being the same Place's White Turk mare known as "Trumpet's Dam", a granddaughter of the Layton Barb Mare (Family #4), Trumpet's dam being the granddam of Brown Farewell (granddam of Matchem) and ancestress of (Old) Cartouche. A daughter of Place's White Turk also produced Wyndham.

--Anne Peters

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