You might feel sure that a horse is not a Flamingo, a Polar Bear, a Tomato, a Teapot, a pair of Bootlaces, a Taxidermist, a Rat Catcher or a Flea but you’d be wrong. Racehorse owners often give their horses bizarre names that would seem to make success impossible. Luckily, thoroughbreds are able to defy such handicaps. A Spaniel has won the Derby (1831), a Crow the St Leger (1976), a Butterfly the Oaks (1860) and, difficult to imagine, Oscar Wilde the Welsh National (1958). It’s bonkers. Bonkers won at Southwell in 2002. Over the centuries there have been hundreds of thousands of different names bestowed or inflicted on racehorses and in Fifty Shades Of Hay, David Ashforth has picked out a selection to baffle, surprise and amuse in equal measure.
"The wittiest man writing about racing has provided the punter’s perfect bedside compendium." Robin Oakley, The Spectator
"...witty and erudite, as you would expect, and I can’t stop leafing through it." Tony Paley, Racing editor at The Guardian and The Observer
"Despite the fact that this book deserves to be on every coffee table, it also deserves to be read from cover to cover — it’s fascinating, laugh out loud funny and very, very clever." Gemma Redrup, Horse & Hound
Paperback, 272 pages, 978-1-910497-71-5