Fatcatinthehat: Banker Rich Ricci comes first in the giving your racehorse a funny name stakes
A racehorse is the ultimate status symbol, and if, like Barclay’s Rich Ricci, you feel the need for steed, you’d better come up with a name that turns heads
Prolific writer and commentator John Walsh contributes columns to the paper as well as writing features, interviews and restaurant reviews. He has been editor of The Independent Magazine, literary editor of the Sunday Times and features editor of the London Evening Standard.
Monday 11 March 2013
Oh, that’s clever. Rich Ricci, the chief executive of Barclays Capital and a man who makes Croesus look like Martine McCutcheon, was the subject of an Independent profile in 2011. It was headlined: “Who’s the fat cat in the hat? The rich world of Rich Ricci.” Two years later, Ricci retaliates by entering a horse at the Cheltenham races this week called Fatcatinthehat. It’s one of 11 entered for the races by Ricci, who earned £44m in pay and bonuses in 2010.
Naming the horse in this sensitive way has caused upset. “It’s an insult to every taxpayer and small business in the country,” Labour MP John Mann says. “It just shows how out of touch these bankers are.” Insulting and tactless he may be, but Mr Wealthy Moneybags is right on trend when it comes to calling a racehorse a silly name. Football millionaires have some form in the horse-naming game. Harry Redknapp, Queens Park Rangers’ geezer-manager, called his prize nag ’Arry’s ’Orse. Liverpool FC’s former players Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman have horses called Some Horse and Another Horse (imagine the commentary: “It’s Some Horse from Butcher’s Boy with Another Horse coming up strongly on the inside…”).
If you’re a Mr Prosperous Plutocrat yourself, and you’re thinking of naming a racehorse, be warned that the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has many rules and restrictions. You can’t choose a name which is “suggestive, or has a vulgar, obscene or insulting meaning”; that “may be offensive to religions, political or ethnic groups or is in poor taste”. Nor can you make “inappropriate use of names made up of internet-site addresses”, so bang goes lookatmyfucking redtrousers.com.
Some rather rude names have slipped through the net, and there are horses cantering around with names such as “Noble Locks” and “Sofa Can Fast”, but the BHA is not easily fooled. If you’re considering calling your horse “Hugh G Rection” or “Anita B Jaynow” or the rather ingenious “Norfolk Enchants” (you have to say it with a Northern accent), you can forget it: they’re all on the banned list.
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