The Byerley Turk: The True Story of the First ThoroughbredPaperback
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- Publisher: Merlin Unwin Books
- Format: Paperback | 352 pages
- Dimensions: 148mm x 204mm x 28mm | 381g
- Publication date: 30 May 2013
- Publication City/Country: Shropshire
- ISBN 10: 1873674988
- ISBN 13: 9781873674987
- Edition statement: Reprint
- Sales rank: 85,950
"This is the true story of the most remarkable horse in history. In 1678, a beautiful mahogany bay Karaman colt is foaled in a stable on a feudal landholding in the Balkans. Yet this is no ordinary colt: this is a colt with a destiny. He is destined to become the magnificent Byerley Turk, the first Foundation Sire of the thoroughbred line. From his early days the young horse is hard-schooled in the disciplines of war. In 1683, in diamond and ruby-studded harness in the ranks of the glittering Ottoman sipahi, he fights as a charger at the Siege of Vienna. Seized as an exotic prize from the Siege of Buda three years later, he is ridden across Europe to the Royal Barracks of King James II in Hounslow, England, where he is acquired in 1687 by Captain Robert Byerley. In 1690, as a charger in the ranks of King William's army, he faces sabre and cannon at the Battle of the Boyne, but not before romping past the winning post at Downroyal and snatching the King's Plate. After two years of bitter campaigning in Ireland he is shipped back to England, where his owner, now Colonel of his regiment, retires him to Goldsborough Hall in Yorkshire. Here the horse is put to Stud and begins a long well-earned retirement. He died at the age of 25 in 1703. No stone marks his grave. Until now his story has never been told. But on racecourses throughout the world today, his blood thunders on."
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By Ruth McKinlay 16 Jun 2010
It was nothing like I expected. Being a Thoroughbred owner (my horse has never raced or trained to do so) I have always had an interest in the history of the breed. When I purchased this book, I expected it to be a very matter of fact chronology of the breed's development from this well known foundation sire.
I found the way the author composed this book, while still maintaining the essence of history, managed to capture the heart and soul of a horse. It was well written and very difficult to put down.