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The Nerd Side Of Life

The Rules Involved With Naming A Racehorse

When you are building your lucky 15, or picking the weekend favourite the names that you write onto your betting slip may well bring a little smile to your face. There is also a chance that they will bring a look of confusion! From the sublime to the ridiculous, there are a whole host of interesting and sometimes cryptic names given to race horses. In this article we take a look at the rules involved with naming a racehorse.

When naming a horse, the owners must come up with a list of six possibilities. These then need to be submitted to The Jockey Club for consideration. The names must be listed in order of preference, and the club will select the one that is suitable for use. 

The following rules must be followed when drawing up the list of names:

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  1. Names can not exceed 18 characters – this includes spaces, punctuation. 
  2. Names are not allowed to be made up of only numbers and characters. However, if the number is above thirty, it is permitted but needs to be spelt out rather than written in numerical form. 
  3. Acronyms are not allowed – e.g. FYI or LOL. 
  4. Names cannot end with a keyword or horse related term – e.g. ‘filly’ or ‘colt’. 
  5. For obvious reasons – the name of the horse can not end with a numerical designation e.g. 1st, 2nd, 3rd. This applies to the numerical designation spelt out in words as well as represented in numbers. 
  6. Keep it clean! Names cannot be vulgar, obscene or offensive. 
  7. The names of courses and tracks are not allowed to be used as names or parts of names. 
  8. Names are not allowed to have any commercial significance. E.g. horses cannot be named after a company.
  9. Horses are not allowed to be named after people who have been dead for less than fifty years. There is an exception to this where the family of the deceased, or the deceased themselves, has provided written prior permission for the name to be used. 
  10. Names should not be offensive to any religion, political or social group.
  11. A horse name cannot be reused until five years after the horse who previously held the name has been retired for five years. 
  12. There is also a restricted list of names. This is a list of names that cannot be used again. The list is made up of major winners and famous horses. 

There are a lot of rules, and even with the mandate to submit a list, naming a horse can be a tricky job. There are in excess of 200,000 names in use at any one point in time, so it can be difficult to come up with something relevant and memorable that falls within the rules. So, the next time you are filling your betting slip, take a moment to consider the long process that has taken place when it comes to naming the horses that you hope will help you to win big. 

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