This is the tale of a racehorse called Skewbald brought to Ireland to compete in a long-distance race. The locals laughed at the horse and rider, but they soon lost their grins…and their purses.
Rather uncannily, we came across the grave of the Goldolphin Arabian at Wandlebury, near Cambridge. All British thoroughbreds descend from this magnificent horse, who was brought over from a far-off land (probably Syria), and who was also initially viewed as inferior, just like Skewbald…
We recorded this under the middle arch of the renowned late-medieval Moulton Packhorse bridge, just outside the famous horseracing town of Newmarket.
You gallant sportsmen all, come listen to my story
Of the bold Skewbald, that noble racing pony.
Arthur Marvel was the man, who brought the Skewbald over,
He's a diamond in the land and he rolls around in clover.
These horses were brought out with saddle, whip and bridle,
And the gentlemen did shout when they saw the noble rider
There's some did shout hooray as the air was thick with curses
On the grey Griselda sportsmen laid their purses.
Trumpet it did sound, they shot off like an arrow,
Scarcely touched the ground where the going it was narrow.
Then Griselda passed him by as the gentlemen did holler,
“Oh, the grey will win the day and the Skewbald he will follow.”
But halfway round the track up spoke the noble rider,
“I fear we must fall back for she's going like a tiger.”
Up spoke the noble horse, “Ride on, ride on, my master,
For we're halfway round the track and it's now we'll see who's faster.”
So swiftly o'er the grass Skewbald flew like lightning
So swiftly o'er the grass that the grey mare she was taken
“Ride on, my noble horse, for the good two hundred guineas.
Oh your saddle’ll be of gold when we pick up our winnings.”
Way past the winning post, Skewbald flew so handy
Horse and rider both called for sherry, wine and brandy.
And it's there they drank the health of the gallant Miss Griselda
And all who lost their money on the sporting plains of Kildare.
all rights reserved