Playing games in nag naming stakes

17:00, Aug 04 2014
SNIGGER: Horse names can cause a bit of a laugh.

When placing a quick bet at the races for a fancy day out, some like to choose the winning horse based solely on a name.

Whether it is a lucky number or the name of an ex-boyfriend, there's more to a name than meets the eye.

Choosing a name - and getting it past the authorities - is actually quite tricky.

A name can only be reused 12 years after it was last used and appeared in the NZ Stud Book. Secondly, it has to be clean (no bad language), and thirdly, it can only be 18 characters long.

Before your horse can race its name must be registered through NZ Thoroughbred Racing where it is checked against criteria.

NZTR spokesman Simon Cooper says the choosing of a name is an integral part of horse ownership.


"Be prepared for a lengthy process, especially if you must consult with a number of co-owners," he says.

"Ideally, cleverness, decency, pronunciation and availability should be taken into account."

While some name their horses, somewhat superstitiously, for success (Winged Foot or Eight Carat), many names play on words or poke fun at the horse or its owners.

Stud Finder, Hairy Potter and Full of Skittles all seem to have stories behind them. Drinking names are popular like Plastered and Sotally Tober.

The best ones make it past the checks and go on to be read out by commentators. Some are a little bit risque like Oliver Klozov, She's Easy and Short Skirt Flirt.

Others pass the obscenity checks like Hardawn and Jail Bait.

Others, like Hoof Hearted and Far Canal, do not.

Cooper says that some of the names are rejected time and again. An Australian horse was eventually named Century after 99 names were rejected by the authorities.

Kiwis have a tendency to be a touch superstitious about the great horse Phar Lap.

While the name won't be used again, Kiwi owners often give horses seven-character names in homage to Phar Lap.

The Press