Fifty Shades of Hay
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.
"...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
"The aim of a racing author is to write a book which reaches beyond the parish boundary and appeals to a wider public... one which I have no doubt will clear the boundary ropes is Fifty Shades of Hay." Marcus Armytage, The Telegraph