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  Flying Childers

Flying Childers  
Bay colt, 1714.
By Darley Arabian-Betty Leedes by Careless.
Darley Arabian Sire line:

King Fergus Sire Line Quick Chart.
Family 6 - a.

Darley Arabian
His sire, the Darley Arabian

Flying Childers is considered the first truly great racehorse in the history of the Thoroughbred. In this, he followed his maternal grandsire (Old) Careless, who was said to be the best racehorse since his own sire, Spanker, who raced during the time of Charles II.

Flying Childers was bred by Colonel Leonard Childers of Cantley Hall, Doncaster in Yorkshire, sired by Richard Darley's Arabian, imported from Aleppo, Syria around 1704. Darley kept his bay Arabian primarily as a private stallion at Aldby Park in Yorkshire but accepted a few outside mares, including Childer's mare Betty Leedes.

In 1714 Betty Leedes gave birth to a bright bay colt, even flashier than his blazed-faced sire, with a blaze and four white stockings. He matured to about 15.2 hands, which was upstanding for his time, although about the same size as his own sire. Carrying the name of his breeder, "Childers" was sold to the Duke of Devonshire, for whom he raced and alternately became known as Devonshire Childers or Flying Childers.

Flying Childers came to the races at the age of six, competing in three races, winning all of them. The first was on April 26, 1721, a race at Newmarket in which he defeated Speedwell. The second, also at Newmarket was in October. He scared off all comers and won in a walk over. In the third, he defeated the older horse Almanzor, also by the Darley Arabian, and a mare, Brown Betty, in a three-horse match.

The following year, Flying Childers started only once, winning a race at Newmarket on October 22, defeating Chaunter. In a more notable effort that year, he defeated the celebrated runner Fox in a trial at York by a quarter mile. In 1723, as an eight-year-old, he made his final two starts, walking over for an event at the April Newmarket meeting, and walking over again in November for a match with a horse named Bobsey, which paid a forfeit.

Spanking Roger
Spanking Roger
The Duke of Devonshire was given many a lucrative offer for the horse, including one reputedly of the horseís weight in gold crowns, which was refused. He retired unbeaten and untested. Flying Childers stood at Devonshire's famous stud at the great estate of Chatsworth, in Derbyshire, and was used there as a private stallion. He died at Chatsworth at age 26 in 1741.

Flying Childers was a successful sire but nearly as good at stud as he was on the turf. His best included Plaistow, Blacklegs, Second, Snip, Commoner, Blaze, Spanking Roger, Roundhead, Fleec'em, and Steady. Both Blacklegs and Blaze were leading sires, and in fact, Blaze's male line survives to this day, although through non-Thoroughbred descendants Messenger (in Standardbreds) and Shales (in Hackneys). Blaze is also the dam's sire of the great foundation sire Herod. Snip was the sire of the important sire Snap, one of the great early broodmare sires.

Flying Childers had a full brother known by several names including Young Childers and Bartlett's Childers. Another of his aliases explains why he was unraced: Bleeding Childers. Bartlettís Childers was never trained due to this infirmity and went to stud at Mr. Bartlett's Nuttle Court, near Masham in Yorkshire. A good sire, he is most important as the sire of Squirt, sire of Marske (who sired Eclipse) and who continued the Darley Arabian male line to the present times. He also sired the famous Little Hartley Mare and other good broodmares.

--Anne Peters

FLYING CHILDERS, bay colt, 1715 -- Family #6 - a
Darley Arabian
b.c. c.1700
-- --
-- --
Betty Leedes
f. 17--
(Old or Wharton's) Careless
(Old) Spanker
b.c. 16--
A Barb mare
f. 16--
Cream Cheeks
Leedes' Arabian
Spanker Mare OR
Roan Mare belonging to Sir Marmaduke Wyvill

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