Herod (horse)

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Herod (horse).jpg
Herod (King Herod)
Sire Tartar
Grandsire Partner
Dam Cypron
Damsire Blaze
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1758
Country Great Britain
Colour Bay
Breeder Prince William, Duke of Cumberland
Owner Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, Sir Sir John Moore
Earnings ca. ₤4,500
Leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland
(1777, 1778, 1779, 1780, 1781, 1782, 1783, 1784)
Last updated on 14 August 2009

Herod (originally King Herod; April 1758 – 12 May 1780) was a Thoroughbred racehorse. He was one of the three foundation sires of the modern Thoroughbred racehorse, along with Matchem and Eclipse. Herod was the foundation sire responsible for keeping the Byerley Turk sire-line alive.[1]


Bred by Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, he was by the stallion Tartar, a very good racehorse, who won many races including the King's plate at Litchfield, the King's plate at Guildford, and the King's plate at Newmarket. In addition to Herod, Tartar sired Thais (dam of Silvertail), Fanny (second dam of King Fergus), the O'Kelly Old Tartar mare (dam of Volunteer), and others. Herod's dam, Cypron (1750 bay filly), was bred by Sir W. St Quintin. Herod was a half-brother Lady Bolingbroke (dam of Tetotum, Epsom Oaks) and a mare (1757) (dam of Clay Hall Marske) by Regulus.[2]


Herod was a fine, bay horse standing 15.3 hands high with a small star and no white on his legs.[3] He was a powerful horse that was especially good at four-mile distances.[4]

Racing career[edit]

Herod began racing at five, the usual age to begin training for this period, in October 1763 winning a race on the four mile Beacon course at Newmarket. At age six, he won another race at Newmarket, followed by a four-miler at Ascot and a match against Antinous over the Beacon course. When he was seven, his owner died and he was sold in a dispersal sale to Sir John Moore, and it wasn't until 1766 that he returned to the track, where won again against Antinous in a match over the same course.

His career began to close at this point, as he lost to Ascham, then to Turf, and then finished last in a race at York, after a bleeding attack. He started twice the following year, before retiring to stud.

Breeding career[edit]

Herod retired in 1770 and stood at the stud of Sir John Moore at Neather Hall, for a fee of 10 guineas, later raised to 25 guineas.[3] He was the leading sire in Great Britain eight times, (1777 to 1784), before his son, Highflyer(1785 to 1796, 1798) and grandson Sir Peter Teazle (1799 to 1802, and 1804 to 1809) took over. Herod's male line continues today in the pedigree of the 2007 Eclipse Stakes winner, Notnowcato. His most important offspring include:

  • Florizel: 1768 bay colt, won 16 races out of 23 starts. Sired Diomed, winner of the first Derby and incredibly influential sire in America.
  • Fortitude: sire of John Bull
  • Highflyer: 1774 bay colt, the most important son of Herod. Unbeaten in 14 races, leading sire several times, one of the 4 foundation lines of the classic Thoroughbred. Got Sir Peter Teazle, Rockingham, Delpini, Escape, St. George, and broodmare Prunella.
  • Justice: sired Rhadamanathus, Daedalus, and Trifle
  • Phoenomenon: won the St. Leger, leading sire
  • Woodpecker: 1773 chestnut colt, won the Craven Stakes in 1778, 1779 and 1781, and a 1,400 guineas handicap sweep in 1780 and 140 guineas purse at Newmarket in 1781, both times beating Potoooooooo (pronounced "Pot eight oes"). Although Woodpecker was initially overshadowed by the success of Highflyer, it is Woodpecker who is responsible for the continuation of the Herod sire line to the present day. Woodpecker sired Buzzard, sire of Selim who in turn sired Sultan, six time leading sire, who in turn sired Bay Middleton, another leading sire in the mid 1800s.[5]

Herod sired the winners of 497 races worth ₤201,505.[4]

He was still covering mares until his death, at age 22, at Netherhall (written as Neather Hall in the old calendars) on 12 May 1780.[3][6]


Pedigree of Herod, bay stallion, 1758
ch. 1743
ch. 1718
br. 1701
Byerley Turk
Spanker Mare
Sister to Mixbury Curwen's Bay Barb
Curwen Spot Mare
ch. 1729
b. 1714
Bay Peg
Whartons Snail
Shields Galloway
br. 1750
Flying Childers
b. 1715
Darley Arabian
Betty Leedes
Confederate filly
Grey Grantham
Rutland's Black Barb
blk. 1733
Bethells Arabian
Champion Mare Graham's Champion
Darley Arabian Mare


  1. ^ Craig, Dennis, Breeding Racehorses from Cluster Mares, J A Allen, London, 1964
  2. ^ ASB - Cypron Retrieved on 2009-8-14
  3. ^ a b c Montgomery, E.S, “The Thoroughbred”, Arco, New York, 1973 ISBN 0-668-02824-6
  4. ^ a b Ahnert, Rainer L. (editor in chief), “Thoroughbred Breeding of the World”, Pozdun Publishing, Germany, 1970
  5. ^ "Historic Sire Lines". www.bloodlines.net. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  6. ^ Morris, Simon; Tesio Power 2000 - Stallions of the World

External links[edit]