Childers with jockey up in the livery of the Duke of Devonshire oil on canvas 26.6 x 32.1 cm. (10½ x 12 5/8 in.)
PROVENANCE: The late David Astor, the Manor House, Sutton Courtenay, 1949 (probably acquired with the purchase of the house in 1945 from Captain Harry Lindsay) and thence by family descent to the present owner
Childers was a bay colt by the Darley Arabian out of Betty Leedes. He was bred by Leonard Childers of Carr House, Doncaster in 1715, and sold when young to the Duke of Devonshire. Of his six trials and matches, 1721-1723, he won three and received forfeits for the remainder, as no horse could match his speed. He was allowed to have been the fleetest horse that has ever appeared in the world. He is said to have moved 82 ½ feet in a second, which is close on a mile a minute and he actually covered the Beacon Course at Newmarket at that time a distance of 4 miles, 1 furlong and 28 yards in seven minutes and thirty seconds, covering 25 feet at every bound. It is no wonder that ever after he was known as Flying Childers. He died at the Dukes stud in 1741 aged 26.