Naming your Racehorse

You've taken the plunge and bought the horse, now for the fun part - choosing a name. You will want a name that befits a champion, one that will be memorable, strong, maybe even clever or catchy. But there are rules.

Vulgar or obscene names, no matter how well-disguised, are banned, as are brand and company names, along with names that might vilify.

The names of past champions are mostly prohibited, any name used in Australia in the previous 17 years will be rejected as will all the winners of 11 specified races around the world, including the Melbourne Cup and Cox Plate.

While most names tend to be inspired by a horse's breeding, you can usually do better than adding “Miss” or a “Lad” to the name of a sire or dam.


Coolmore Stud

Better to take it a bit further, like Octagonal, who is out of Eight Carat, or the Melbourne Cup winner Brew whose mother was the champion NZ mare Horlicks who in turn was out of Malt.

Or Earthquake who is out of the mare Cataclysm and stakes winner Foreteller, out of Prophecy.

A lot of thought went into the naming of Caulfield Cup winner Elvstroem who is by Danehill out of Circles Of Gold who was out of Olympic Aim. Owner Frank Tagg wanted something to reflect both sire and dam so he asked the Danish ambassador who was his country's most famous Olympian. He was told it was sailor Paul Elvstrom, a four-time gold medallist.

There is also a popular theory that champions have seven-letter names: Carbine, Phar Lap, Tulloch, Galilee, Gunsynd, Century, Hyperno, Dulcify, Saintly, Sunline, Marscay, and Dunaden are some that come to mind.

Criterion was named by his owner, Sir Owen Glenn, and these are his comments on why he named the horse as he did.

“I’m a student of history to a degree” “the roman and Greek empires” “I always love the way the British name their ships” “there are some marvellous words in Latin” “I thought Criterion was a solid name” “I am favouring around 10 different Latin names for the foals that are coming.”

Criterion's Pedigree
Criterion Pedigree
Ruud Awakening's Pedigree
Ruud Awakening Pedigree