BBC News: Yorkshire racehorse owner appeals against name change order

Published 2022/05/14

Yorkshire racehorse owner appeals against name change order

Image caption,
Nick Rhodes said he had previously named horses Yorkshire Pudding, Flippin' Eck and Eeh Bah Gum

A racehorse owner ordered to change the "offensive" name of his prized colt has lodged an appeal.

"Proud Yorkshireman" Nick Rhodes always draws on the local dialect when choosing equine monikers.

His latest addition - Buggerlugs - was initially approved but later overturned by racing chiefs in response to a "single complaint", Mr Rhodes said.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) said the name's potentially offensive reading was behind its decision.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, buggerlugs is a humorous term for "an annoying or foolish person", often used "as an affectionate form of address".

Mr Rhodes, from Green Hammerton in North Yorkshire, said he chose it as a tribute to his father, who used it as his son's childhood nickname.

He said he had "always looked for a Yorkshire angle" when naming his horses - his first was called Yorkshire Pudding and it was followed by Eeh Bah Gum and Flippin' Eck.

But he was left "gobsmacked" when the BHA called to inform him it was rescinding the approval of the name.

The authority told him he had two hours to change it, he said, or the horse would have been pulled from a race the next day at Beverley in East Yorkshire.

Tasked with providing an alternative, he decided upon Sling Yer Hook - another local phrase meaning "go away".

"It's ludicrous, ridiculous, bureaucracy gone mad," said Mr Rhodes.

The horse previously known as BuggerlugsIMAGE SOURCE,NICK RHODES
Image caption,
Nick Rhodes said he called his horse Buggerlugs because his father used it as an affectionate nickname

In the end, the horse came seventh in the race, after being upset by a long wait in the stalls, according to its owner.

Speaking about his appeal, Mr Rhodes said: "I just hope common sense prevails and he's allowed to keep the name."

A BHA spokesperson said that although Weatherbys - who carry out administrative functions for British racing - had approved the name, "on further consideration it was viewed as inappropriate" because of its potentially offensive reading.

The BHA said it understood there was no malicious intent on the part of the owner, but that many people would have been unaware of the word's meaning.