Highflyer was a bay colt by King Herod out of Rachel. Foaled in 1774, he was bred by Sir Charles Bunbury, and was later sold to Lord Bolingbroke. He was unbeaten in his racing career (1777-1779), running under the name of Mr Compton, as Lord Bolingbroke was by then insolvent, resulting in "Highflyer's" sale to Richard Tattersall in the Spring of 1779. He was retired to Stud at the close of the 1779 season at Tattersall's recently purchased estate near Ely, renamed Highflyer Hall. He was champion stallion for 13 of his 14 years at Stud, dying at the age of 19 in 1793. With Flying Childers and Eclipse he is judged as one of the three best 18th century thoroughbreds, his progeny winning the huge sum of £170,407 between 1783 and 1801.