Monday Musings: When the name sounds the same

One of the few pleasures for generally-beleaguered owners, weighed down by ever-increasing costs and hard-to-secure prize money in the age of the three G’s – Gosden, Godolphin and Galileo – is to name one’s own horses, especially when it’s a home-bred, writes Tony Stafford.

Raymond Tooth approaches the task with a mixture of intelligence, research and devilment, as the successful naming and so-far upwardly-mobile career of his nice miler Sod’s Law exemplifies.

He got that one past the names police at the British Horseracing Authority, and a quick look on their site, which gives an instant initial yea or nay to future applications, suggested that “Bogeyman” was available. Ray had liked the name for the big, strong and recently-reacquired yearling by Garswood out of Lawyers Choice, thus younger brother to Sod’s Law, Dutch Law and Dutch Art Dealer.

There is always a rider, though, that further investigation will need to be made before confirmation. On Sunday morning I retrieved an email from Jane, Hughie Morrison’s ultra-efficient secretary that the name had been rejected owing to the “phonetic match with Bowgey Man (GB)”.

Naturally, having never heard of said racehorse, I scoured the records and discovered that there is (or maybe was) a horse of that name. He was a 2015 foal by Pastoral Pursuits out of the winning Proclamation mare, Black Annis Bower.

The pronunciation by racecourse commentator Malcolm Tomlinson at Ripon on July 22 2017 was indeed Bogeyman, with no emphasis on the middle “W”. It may well be that the single utterance, just after the three-furlong pole in that minimum trip maiden will be the only one of his career. With at that stage two even slower starters in the 11-horse field behind him, Mrs A Jarvis’s home-bred was recorded thus: “Bowgey Man well back” and that was it. At the finish, the two that had been adrift of him were still in rear, but a long way ahead of Bowgey Man.

In a five-furlong race, the juvenile was 22 lengths behind the winner and hasn’t appeared since. He had been expunged from the Mick Easterby list in Horses in Training 2018 and also the full index of all named horses in training at the back of that volume.  The 2016 foal, a filly by Heeraat is listed and has subsequently been named Annie’s Bow. To date she has made little impact, well back in two late-season efforts at massive odds.

To assume that a “phonetic match” alone is justification for rejection of a name is clearly nonsense. Horses of different generations are unlikely ever to be in direct opposition and even if racing in different races on the same day, the names in this case are clearly differently spelt. Depending on which commentator you get, Bowgey Man could indeed sound as Bowgey Man (not Bogeyman) in the unlikely event he ever reappears 16 months on from his sole hapless effort to date.

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There are a number of doubled-up named horses racing in the UK, usually in the case of animals bred in different authorities. We had a nice colt called Weekender (Fr), originally with Nicolas Clement, but moved across to Mick Channon sometime over the winter of 2016/17 when he would have raced as a three-year-old at the same time as John Gosden’s smart Frankel colt of that name.

Unfortunately a few days after arriving at West Ilsley he was found stretched out dead in his box. I remember well the shock it caused Mick who said in all the years he’d been training, that was only the second example of such a loss.

I plan to write this morning (Monday) to the BHA, but in the hope that this might reach some people with a little influence in that organisation, maybe some intervention can achieve a more sane reaction. I would prefer not to inform Mr T of the situation until it is irrevocable.

The final day of turf Flat racing at Doncaster on Saturday was a joy and not just for the soup and steak and kidney in the press room. The weather was initially sunny, the racing competitive and, from the outset, it was a day of days for the always-jovial and immaculately-attired John Ryan.

Mick Ryan’s son may not have had the big-race winners like Katies and many more enjoyed by his father, but he shares his sire’s clubbable nature. The early start was cited a potential problem by Ryan and his equally-affable owner Jon Thompson, once of Ladbrokes, now one of the ownership lynch-pins in Ryan’s Newmarket stable.

They were on hand for the final racecourse appearance of JT’s four-year-old filly, Lady Freyja, and from the two-furlong pole there was no conceivable threat to the daughter of Mayson as she powered clear under Cieren Fallon. No-one seems to mind that the embryo jockey is a phonetic match to his father Kieran, not present this time. Maybe it was too early for the ex-champ to make it from Newmarket.

Lady Freyja, with three of Ryan’s 20 Flat winners this year – from 36 individuals – has been the most prolific, and she now retires to stud. I understand they are trying to get a nice deal with Bated Breath.

I should think there would have been a fair amount of bated breath, certainly from Messrs Ryan and Thompson, after the second race at Chelmsford later in the day. I trust the pair made it safely down in the afternoon drive south as there was a nice enough time gap before proceedings got under way at the track that Derek Thompson, no relation, always describes as: “the premier racecourse in Essex”.

Having collected the first winner in the nursery with joint-favourite Shining Armor, Ryan followed up in the novice event half an hour later with 10-1 shot Battle of Waterloo, close enough to the anniversary of that event. Both horses are owned by Gerry McGladery, also proprietor of Ryan’s two hurdles winners this season, Normal Norman and Needs To Be Seen.


I very rarely doubt the wisdom or information emanating from Chris Richardson and John Marsh at Cheveley Park stud, but having committed the boss to using Garswood as well as Mayson for the bulk of his now reduced breeding operation, I was becoming edgy about the former’s first season even with Marsh’s assurance that: “there’s plenty of nice ones still to come!”

It all began well enough with Little Kim and early winner Gabriel the Wire, but midsummer was pretty bleak. Cala Tarida in France, with three out of four and a Group 3 win recently perked me up a little and Saturday’s nice win for Edgewood in a competitive novice race, kept the old red colours, now much better fitted on David Armstrong’s horses, mostly home-breds, in the picture.

One person you cannot keep out of any aspect of the 2018 Flat-racing season is John Gosden. He wound up the year with what in retrospect was a highly-predictable raid on the final decent Flat prize of the season with his Dubawi four-year-old, Royal Line, in the November Handicap.

A field of 23 lined up, but it was clear from some way out that Royal Line, in the old Sheikh Mo colours now adorned by horses owned by his daughter Sheikha Al Jalila, was cantering. Up 10lb from his last and winning run back seven months ago at Epsom, he duly took the prize under Rab Havlin, still benefiting from remaining second jockey to a boss who rewards loyalty in this tangible way.

That is equally true of Seamie Heffernan at Ballydoyle. After more than 20 years’ riding out every morning, he approaches each day with equal enthusiasm and despite partnering two fillies in Saturday’s Listed races whose chances had been compromised by heavy overnight rain, he still retained his good humour, before heading back across the Pennines for his plane home from Manchester.

As for Gosden, having already showed that he can pick up races like the Arc, Champion Stakes, Irish Champion and all the top staying races with his stable stars Enable, Cracksman, Roaring Lion and Stradivarius seemingly at will, you can just imagine him settling down to the task of identifying the horses with which he will knock off the massive prizes offered for the Ebor and Cesarewitch next year. He probably already knows which ones he is going to win them with!

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