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12 Little-Known Facts About Horse Racing

There are many things about horseracing that we know and love. As we take a look at the race cards for our favourite races, one can’t help but smile at some of the names that are given to the horses. They are names of personal significance, steeped in tradition, or designed simply to be memorable. However, the rules around naming horses are complex, strict and unique. The naming of horses is just one of the things that were are going to take a look at in this guide which takes you on a tour through 12 little-known facts about horse racing.

1. Naming a racehorse

There are certain conditions that apply when naming a racehorse:

  • Names can have a maximum of 18 characters, and this includes spaces and punctuation.
  • Names cannot include numerical designations -e.g. 1st and 2nd.
  • The name cannot include the name of a real person
  • Race track names cannot feature in a name
  • Initials are not permitted
  • Names cannot end with horse-related terms e.g. filly or colt
  • Names cannot consist of only numbers unless the number is spelled ou
  • The name cannot not be vulgar or offensive
  • The name must be unique

2. Jockey weight

Whilst there is no rule about the height a jockey must be in order to race, there is a maximum set weight of 126lbs.

3. Thoroughbred colouring

There are nine recognised thoroughbred colours:

  • Bay
  • Black
  • Tan
  • Chestnut
  • Brown
  • Gray
  • Roan
  • Palomino
  • white

4. All thoroughbred horses in the Northern Hemisphere have the same birth date: 1st January. This makes it simple and straightforward when comparing the age of horses.

5. All thoroughbred horses in the Southern Hemisphere have the same birth date: 1st August.

6. Every thoroughbred horse has a lip tattoo that consists of letters and numbers. There is also a microchip in the lip that prevents against theft and also helps to keep track of the horse’s life and experiences as it is passed from owner to owner.

7. The gestation period for a horse is 340 days.

8. Thoroughbred horses originate from the UK and are the consequence of the breeding of three imported stallions in 1689. The ancestry of all thoroughbred horses in the UK can be traced back to these three stallions.

9. Diane Crump was the first woman to ride a horse in the Kentucky Derby.

10. Although horse racing is seen as a very British affair, it was actually invented in Central

Asia in 4500 BC. Horses were originally bred for war, and it is as a result of this that they are such strong and powerful animals.

11. Horse racing was once outlawed by Oliver Cromwell when he requisitioned horses for war during the Civil War.

12. Horse racing is known as the ‘Sport of Kings’ due to its Royal connections past and present. Many monarchs, including the Queen, have shown an interest not only in attending the races, but also training and keeping horses of their own. The Queen gets her love of horses from her father.

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