By Isla Lamont,
International News Writer
A future Australian racehorse has been named Horsey McHorseface.
The two-year-old gelding was named in tribute to Boaty McBoatface, the soon-to-be name of a British research vessel which was voted on in a public poll. The poll was hosted by the UK’s National Environmental Research Council’s (NERC), but is non-binding. The ship will be used in the arctic seas.
The name, Horsey McHorseface was chosen by owner Joe Rosetti and amused co-owner and trainer Bjorn Baker. “We had a laugh about it in the office and thought, ‘Hey, why not’,” racing manager Jake Bruce told CNN, “Joe’s a good bloke and he’s a good horse — we just thought it would be a good fit.”
“Any publicity is good publicity,” said Bruce, “he’s got as good a chance as any to make it and we’d absolutely love to win with him on a big day. It would be a) hilarious and b) great for the owners.”
McHorseface was purchased from a “ready-to-run” sale in November 2015, and that he was chosen for his gallop. McHorseface was purchased for NZ$65,000, or US$45,000. He is expected to debut this May.
Naming a race horse is actually a “fine art”, according to British racing commentator Cornelius Lysaght. “If you look at the big races, there are not many horses who win them without good names”.
Other fan favorite horse names include Whykickamoocow, Handomechamp, Candy Ride, Shakalackaboomboom, Shesasurething, Mummy’s Pet, Maythehorsebewithyou, and Sir Gaylord.
Some quirky names are chosen as a show of lineage with odd combinations of parent names, some for an element of sheer entertainment in what is considered the most high-class of sports, and some as a means of attracting attention and fan base.
There are strict international regulations and deep rooted traditions involved in naming the animals. Horse Racing fansite Bleacher Report claims there are 750,000 registered horse names in the United States alone. Each name can be no longer than 18 characters and seven syllables, and is protected for 20 years, or 35 if a horse continues to be used for its stud services after it retires. And just like the number 4 in football or 42 in baseball, the true greats can have their names formally retired and prohibited from reuse.
A horse cannot be named for a person or company without permission, as demonstrated when the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, turned down a request from Sigmond Freud’s grandson to name his horse after her.
McHorseface belongs to the Warwick Farm racecourse in Sydney, Autralia, but is originally from New Zealand. Warwick Farm is a 82 acres and home to other race horses, but none with a name quite as novel.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 26th print edition.
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