LETTERS: Wonderful Copenhagen

From Mrs Joan A. Davis

Sir: In Alastair Down's article on Red Rum ("The horse who could win a by a landslide", 21 October), he refers to "poor old Copenhagen hanging about all day waiting for Napoleon to get back on".

Copenhagen was otherwise engaged, as he was the charger the Duke of Wellington rode throughout the last 17 hours of the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815. He is said to still have been fresh when the Duke dismounted, and to have kicked out, narrowly missing the Duke's skull.

There are differing accounts of his pedigree but it is generally agreed that he was a grandson of the great Eclipse. He had originally belonged to Field Marshal Grosvenor, was sold by him to the Marquis of Londonderry, then Adjutant General to the Peninsular Army, who sent him to Lisbon in 1813. He was then bought by Colonel Charles Wood, together with another horse, for 400 guineas for the Duke, with whom he soon became a favourite.

Copenhagen was a small horse, a stallion standing about 15 hands high, but of great strength and endurance. He was foaled in 1808 and died in 1836 when he was buried with military honours at Strathfield Saye. A headstone marks his grave.

Yours faithfully,

Joan A. Davis

Freshwater, Isle of Wight

21 October

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