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Horse Race

Godolphin Arabian

Gifted to King Louis XV of France

The Godolphin Arabian was born in Yemen in 1724 and exported via Syria, before being given as a gift to King Louis XV of France.


At only 14.1½ hands high, he was considered too small in stature to be of any value to the French court and supposedly he was discovered by Edward Coke, brother of Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Longford Hall, Derbyshire and Holkham Hall, Norfolk, pulling a cart on the streets of Paris.


Edward purchased the horse and took him to the stud at Longford Hall where he was initially used as a teaser.  He covered his first mare, Roxana, after Coke’s other stallion refused and the outcome was Lath who proved to be extremely fast on the racecourse wand described as one of the best horses of the age.


Upon Edwards Coke’s death, his mares and foals were bequeathed to his friend Francis, 2nd Earl of Godolphin and the stallions to Roger Williams, however Lord Godolphin eventually acquired the Godolphin Arabian and he became the prize stallion, standing at Lord Godolphin’s Stud in Gog Magog, Cambridgeshire.

Lord Godolphin

It is Lord Godolphin’s family ties that holds the connection with Yorkshire.  He was godfather to Sir Marmaduke Wyvill, the father-in-law of James D’Arcy who was appointed Royal Stud Master by King Charles II.


The Wyvills were noted breeders of horses, as were many of their neighbours, giving D’Arcy access to stock of good quality.


James D’Arcy was given the use of Sedbury Park, near Richmond in North Yorkshire, by Sir Marmadue Wyvill to use as his stud, upon his marriage to Isabella.  It is from this base that D’Arcy was able to action a breeding programme for the King and supply him with colts to build up his string.

Godolphin Arabian
Thoroughbred Origins
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