Sports betting PR legend GRAHAM SHARPE writes…
OVER THE YEARS, racehorse owners have tried all manner of verbal and written subterfuge to slip a name or two past the sport’s ‘censors’. No doubt, even as I write this, someone is pondering how to give their equine pride and joy a cunningly disguised title, designed to embarrass the powers-that-be and racing commentators.
It has been happening since the earliest days of racing – in 1809 Northallerrton racecourse staged a contest featuring Sir H T Vane’s Little Fanny – quite possibly an innocent nomenclature – although you can have 33/1 about that with me.
In 1840 Prickbelt won twice at Tadcaster, albeit I’m sure there was nothing remotely dubious about his name, while a few years later racegoers were no doubt entertained when Sweetest When Naked was a regular runner at much the same time as Pudenda.
The 1930 Yorkshire Cup was won by The Bastard – who ended up at stud in Australia, where his name was subtly changed to The Buzzard so as not to offend the delicate locals.
Muff Diver was a 1978 winner in Belgium, where Shy Talk was also on the circuit.
Julie Cecil-trained Mary Hinge delighted fans of spoonerisms by chalking up five victories during 1993 and 94, while in 1994 Weigh Anchor gave the faster-calling race commentators reason to slow down.
Tulsy Tsan was running unnoticed in New Zealand in 1998 – but was banned when racing authorities noticed what that name became when read backwards.
US owner Mike Pegram named horses Isitingood, and Dixie Normas.
Jockey Club officials intervened to prevent a late 1990s Richard Hannon two year old from running as The Gobbler, while in 2003 the Jockey Club were not happy when trainer Elie Leilouche sent over his Big Tits, which had been renamed when the French authorities vetoed Gros Nichons – google it!
Owen Byrne of the Jockey Club revealed some of the names vetoed by that organisation a few years ago amongst them Chocolate Starfish, Jack Meehoff and Sofa King Fast.
Others to be turned down include Ben Derhover, Ben Timover and Betty Swallocks, as well as Arfur Foulkesaycke, OilBeefHooked and Chit Hot.
Vince Smith trained a May, 2006 winner, Juan Bol – who was the owner of an undescended testicle, while in July, 2007 a Racing Post reader, Jonny Allison, commented about three names he’d noticed; ‘May I suggest a nursery restricted to three entrants – New Balls Please, Cute Ass and Little Knickers.’
And in 2007 a syndicate called the Landing Strip Partnership had a runner they named Bollywood Style in action – innocent enough, until The Observer ran a story claiming that the name means ‘to have the pubic area shaved and covered with Henna tattoo.’
Censorship is not limited to removing saucy or suggestive names, and it is impossible to believe that the name of the decent Fred Rimell-trained chaser of the mid 1940s, Coloured Schoolboy, would now be permitted.
Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.