Horses for courses, of course, but really – what’s in a name?
I remember as a child showing interest in the sometimes unusual-sounding names of horses competing in each year’s Melbourne Cup. For the benefit of people reading this who may reside outside Australia, the Melbourne Cup is this country’s number one blue ribbon event on the thoroughbred horse-racing calendar.
It may no longer be Australia’s richest horse race as far as prize money offered to the winner goes (that honour now belongs to ‘The Everest’ event run at Royal Randwick racecourse in which even the horse that finishes 12th still collects $175 000!), but it is without doubt the one race that ‘stops a nation’ and in doing so captures the hearts and minds of the mug punters – if you’ll pardon the expression – who, at any other time of the year, wouldn’t know their way to a racetrack if you gave them a pre-plotted GPS smart- phone and the cab fare to get there.
Back in childhood, the name of the horse is about the only thing you have to go on when it comes to getting a feel for what’s doing on the track. There’s not many nine and ten-year olds that know their way around short course odds, track conditions, jockey weights and who the winning trainers are.
Sad to tell, but in my case not much has progressed since those very early days. The name (and a half glance at the betting odds) is still what persuades me to choose one horse over another.
And haven’t there been some great names for racehorses over the years! The ones on the list below belong to real horses that all ran on race courses for prizemoney.
Waikikamukau – Pronounced ‘why kick a moo cow’ was an evil trick played by New Zealanders on Aussie race callers.
Maythehorsebewithu takes out the prize for the corniest of Star Wars puns to ever grace the race track.
Sotally Tober – Is this a dyslexic drunk’s idea of a joak?
Muff Diver – What’s so funny? Despite what you may be thinking, this horse was named after a cocktail made from Baileys Irish Cream and Creme de Cacao. Then again, just because you can rationalize it, doesn’t make it right.
Ha Ha Ha – A nightmare for commentators to pronounce without looking stupid, it seems the last laugh was actually on those who named him. In a six-race career, he finished last twice and was pulled up on two other occasions.
Geespot – It might itself make you snigger like little school children on the playground, but the naming is sheer genius based on its pedigree. By the sire ‘Pursuit of Love’ and out of the mare ‘My Discovery’, one can only admire the creativity of the naming of this mare.
AARRRRRRR – Clearly named on ‘Speak Like A Pirate’ Day, this equine athlete was forever a pain for live commentators. On the upside, this hurdle-hopping horse was probably the only animal able to kind of say his own name – a real skill in itself.
I challenge you not to split your sides laughing at this audio of an American race caller commentating on a race which includes the horse ARRRRRRRRR.
If that one doesn’t grab you try this one instead.
Here’s the list of horse names for this year’s Melbourne Cup –
- Bondi Beach
- Max Dynamite
- Johannes Vermeer
- Big Duke
- Ventura Storm (My pick) (Jockey Glen Boss)
- Wicklow Brave
- Boom Time (My seven-year-old daughter’s pick)
- Amelie’s Star
- Single Gaze
- Almandin (Last year’s winner)
- Wall of Fire
- Marmelo (Race favourite)
- Who Shot Thebarman
- Thomas Hobson
- US Army Ranger
- Red Cardinal
Apart from Who Shot The Barman? (late news: this horse has now been scratched from the field) a little underwhelming in the names department I’d suggest.
Personally, I’d prefer to see a race which included the likes of the following –
- Fidget Spinner
- The Donald
- Fake News
- Netflix And Chill
- Duel Citizen
- Pork Sausage and Wheat Beer
- Scenic Writer’s Shack
- Accidentally Inspired
- 2 and 2 Make 5
- Hayne Plane Crash
- Smart Phone Zombie
- Palaszczuk For Premier
- Side Hustle
- Cocaine Cassie
- Airbags On Lampposts
- Rocket Man
- Coal Fired Power
- The Kim Jong Haircut
- Breakfast Beer
- Footballers Behaving Badly
- Vanilla Coke
- A Man Named Horse
- Chocolate After Glow
- Jeff Horn Rematch
More interesting wouldn’t you say?