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Flying Childers

Flying Childers
Flying Childers
Sire Darley Arabian
Dam Betty Leedes
Damsire Wharton's Careless
Gender Stallion
Foaled 1714
Country Great Britain
Color Bay
Breeder Colonel Leonard Childers of Cantley Hall
Owner 4th Duke of Devonshire
Record 6 starts, 6 wins[1]
Flying Childers is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Betty Leedes by Darley Arabian. He was born around 1714 in Great Britain, and was bred by Colonel Leonard Childers of Cantley Hall.
Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster Racecourse
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)
Last updated on 23 August 2009

Flying Childers was a famous undefeated 18th century Thoroughbred racehorse, born in 1714, and is often cited as the first truly great racehorse in the history of Thoroughbreds.



Flying Childers was sired by the great Darley Arabian, one of the three foundation stallions of the Thoroughbred breed. His dam Betty Leedes, was by (Old) Careless and she was inbred to Spanker in the second and third generations (2x3). Betty Leedes was also the dam of the unraced, but successful sire, Bartlett's or Bleeding Childers who was also by the Darley Arabian. (Old) Careless was by the great stallion Spanker, and both were thought to be the best racehorses of their generation.[2] Betty Leedes was one of the few outside mares allowed to breed to the Darley Arabian, who was mostly kept as a private sire by his owner.[3]

Racing career

Flying Childers gained the name of his breeder, Colonel Leonard Childers, in addition to his owner, the Duke of Devonshire, often being referred to as either Devonshire Childers or Flying Childers. Although the Duke received many offers for the colt, including one to pay for the horse's weight in gold, he remained the animal's owner throughout his life.

First racing at age six, the 15.2 hand colt won his maiden race, held April 1721 at Newmarket, to defeat Speedwell. He then won his second race in October, also at Newmarket, in a walk over, and his third race against Almanzor. As a seven-year-old, he won his one start, a race at Newmarket where he beat Chaunter. In 1723, he won both his starts by walk over, one in April at Newmarket, the other a matchrace against Bobsey, who forfeited. Flying Childers then retired to stud.

Breeding career

Flying Childers stood as a private stallion at the Duke's Chatsworth estate in Derbyshire, until his death in 1741 at age 26. His offspring included several full-siblings from the Basto Mare: Blacklegs (br. 1728), a successful racehorse and sire for the Duke, Snip (b. 1736), a poor racehorse who sired the great stallion (Old) Snap, Second (br. 1732), who defeated both Sultan and Partner in 1737, Bay Basto (1729), Hip (1733), and Brown Basto (1738).

He also sired Spanking Roger (ch. 1732), unbeaten against some of the best horses in the country except for one race where he threw his rider, Roundhead (ch. 1733), Fleec'em, Steady, and Blaze (b. 1733). Blaze was especially important, producing Sampsom, Scrub and Childers, Shales (founding sire of the Norfolk Roadster, great influence on the Hackney) and Messenger, the founding sire of the Standardbred and very important in the Tennessee Walking Horse. Lastly, Flying Childers was the damsire of the important foundation Thoroughbred sire Herod.

See also

  • List of Undefeated horses


  1. Tb Heritage
  2. Ahnert, Rainer L. (editor in chief), “Thoroughbred Breeding of the World”, Pozdun Publishing, Germany, 1970
  3. Tb Heritage

External links


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