In 1704 a bankrupt English merchant sent home the colt he had bought from Bedouin tribesmen near the ruins of Palmyra. Thomas Darley hoped this horse might be the ticket to a new life back in Yorkshire. But he turned out to be far more than that, and although Mr. Darley's Arabian never ran a race, 95% of all thoroughbreds in the world today are descended from him. In this book, for the first time, award-winning racing writer Christopher McGrath traces this extraordinary bloodline through twenty-five generations to our greatest modern racehorse, Frankel.The story of racing is about man's relationship with horses, and Mr. Darley's Arabian also celebrates the men and women who owned, trained and traded the stallions that extended the dynasty. McGrath expertly guides us through three centuries of scandals, adventures and fortunes won and lost: our sporting life offers a fascinating view into our history. With a canvas that extends from the diamond mines of South Africa to the trenches of the Great War, and a cast ranging from Smithfield meat salesmen to the inspiration for Mr. Toad, and from legendary jockeys to not one, but two disreputable Princes of Wales (and a very unamused Queen Victoria), Mr. Darley's Arabian shows us the many faces of the sport of kings.
Christopher McGrath has won multiple awards as a racing correspondent, for seven years with the Independent (London). He has been voted Racing Journalist of the Year and commended as Specialist Correspondent at the UK Sports Journalism Awards. He has interviewed many leading figures on the international Turf, and also contributes a regular column on other sports. This is his first book. He lives in England.