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FROM THE FEBRUARY ISSUE OF INSIDE RACING
Stephen Howell vents on the growing use of joining the words to make up a horse’s name.
The Registrar of Racehorses’ guide to naming horses in Australia says there is a maximum of 18 characters, including spaces and apostrophes – not o’postrophes as in the name Mr O’postrophe (an Encosta De Lago gelding trained at Tatura by Kevin Evans) – in any thoroughbred racehorse’s name.
It also says names may be rejected if they are difficult to pronounce or read. It’s no stretch to put Andyahatblewoff, who races in Western Australia, in this category.
And the guide says “except at the discretion of the Registrar of Racehorses, words cannot be run together – e.g. GOTTOFLY would be registered as GOT TO FLY” (the guide’s capitals, not mine; and there is no such animal).
There are many other naming conditions, but these are the ones that have me standing on my soapbox. They seem to disqualify the growing number of run-together – or runtogether – names running around tracks all around Australia.
And the problem is global, especially in the US where they apparently delight in mangling English. But that’s a wider story that affects Australia only when the horses are good enough to come out here for stud purposes, such as Coolmore’s Henrythenavigator (pictured). Or worse still, are good enough to be bought by Coolmore with stud duties in mind and race overseas carrying an Australian-given name, such as Starspangledbanner. Thank goodness it is not Soyouthink.
The Registrar of Racehorses is responsible for the original registration and naming of all thoroughbred horses in Australia, about 14,000 a year. There are lots of don’ts, starting with the maximum length.
Furthermore, there is an item in RISA’s naming guidelines that says: “The Registrar may refuse to register a name containing multiple words run together if it is difficult to decipher. For ease of pronounciation (sic) and to avoid confusion the Registrar encourages the use of spaces between words.”
OK, a random sample to illustrate that confusion is starting to reign …
Consider Nevacantel – Why joined together and why mis-spelt? – a five-year-old racing in North Queensland. Well, a search shows there was a Never Can Tell whose only race was when last in a Nowra (NSW) Maiden in 1993, and there’s a 17-year ban on using the same name. Wouldn’t it be simpler to ban the mis-spelling, too? After all, you say it the same way.
Consider a recent midweek meeting at Betfair Park (Sandown) that had Diamondsondinside. I assume the ‘d’ before ‘inside’ is short for ‘the’. So, I assume it could be Diamonds On The Inside, but that would exceed the limit.
And why do spaces count? The commentator doesn’t pronounce spaces, just as he doesn’t run together a name without them.
What about the blue-riband Derby day at Flemington last spring? There were Absolutelyawesome, Alittlebitofmonica, Heartsareforlove and Luckyi’mbarefoot (I’m surprised they worried about the apostrophe) – not to
mention Lovemelikearock and Shadowofexcellence who were scratched; two or more words all.
And let’s not forget Maluckyday. I suppose I could say that at least it wasn’t It’smaluckyday, but I’d rather say it should be My Lucky Day.
In a country meeting at Mornington in November, we had Inabeauti, Our Poeticprincess and Carryusall.
The first is by Beautiful Crown from Inaflury, and it might have a good heart,
but …; the second is the way it is to keep the count to 18, but would it matter if it was 19? I think not; and the third seems to be a play on carousel, from the dam Toy Carousel.
Some of the amalgams can be clever, but some such as Diggersanddealers, Amerryking, Lordoftheparrots, Touched Byan Angel and many of the aforementioned – ah, there’s a great name for a racehorse, don’t you think? – are needlessly spaceless.
And don’t get me started on harness racing names … just let me finish with Hadyourjeanson (a NSW pacer), simply so I can say, Hadituptohere!