Force Of Nature?

Brutal Force

Name Of The Game. The record breaking Brutal Force showing his paces at the RTR gallops last week (Photo: Hamish Niven Photography)

The new South African record set at last Friday evening’s Cape Thoroughbred Sales Ready To Run Sale has led to enquiries about the name of Red Ray’s smashing full brother. Lot 53, the Lammerskraal Stud bred Brutal Force (Western Winter x Nacarat) consigned by Goodhope Racing, sold for R4,5 million. The newsmaking colt’s name brought back memories of a good racehorse of just a few years ago.

Sporting Post Facebook fan Ashleigh Hughes wrote of the original Brutal Force (NZ):
“He was a chestnut gelding by Vice Regal (NZ) out of Centre Point (NZ), by Gleam Machine (USA). He was owned by a partnership, but ran in the colours of Mr Darryl Cousins,Tan and black halved horizontally, turquoise green band, armband and cap (I can see why you remember orange and green!). He won his first 3 races in a row, and then met Horse Chestnut in The Classic and SA Derby, where he ran unplaced. He won us another 3 races after that, including the Skeaping Trophy, and ran creditable places in the Greyville 1900 and the Sharp Electronics Cup in KZN. It all went horribly wrong one morning at work, where he had a bilateral abaxial fracture of the sesamoids in his near fore. I remember it as if it were yesterday. Such an emotional day, and the owners said to the surgeon to save him, even if he could not race again. Unfortunately the displacement of the bones would have meant a long and arduous recovery, which most horses cannot cope with, mentally. And the decision was made to euthanase this grand boy.”

She continues:
“May his memory live on in this uncannily similar-looking colt! I wish the new owners double the success with this Brutus!”

While the subject is a complex mine of potential contradiction and inconsistency, one can only wonder about the efficiency of the National Horseracing Authority’s naming policy. We note that last Thursday in the Vaal opener, the David Southey bred 2yo Whoosh (Judpot X Feloosh) made her debut for Chris Erasmus.

This despite the fact that the Millenium Stud bred Woosh (Windrush X National Cheer) is a recent 4yo maiden winner in the Dean Kannemeyer yard at Milnerton. Fair enough, the two names are spelt subtlely differently, but does it really make sense to approve a name that can only lead to confusion in the present for punters, and potentially in the future in the stud book?

The National Horseracing Authority Manager of Administration, Mr Colin Hall commented promptly following our enquiry:
“Brutal Force (NZ) was indeed a good horse having run in 17 races between 1998 and 2000, winning 6 of them and being placed in 4 others.  His total stake earnings of R367 812 doesn’t seem to justify how good he was.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t that good that his name received “Protected” status and therefore the rules relating to the re-use of names applies.  In South Africa, as with most other countries in the world, a name can be used again after 5 years after the death of a horse, provided that the horse was not a mare or a stallion.  As Ashleigh Hughes points out , a decision was taken to “euthanase the grand old boy”.  Brutal Force (NZ) was euthanased at the end of 2000.  His name therefore became available in about 2006.

With regard to “Woosh” and “Whoosh” it is correct in that had it been picked up it would not have been allowed.  Whist every effort is made to avoid horses with similar sounding names sometimes they do slip through the system.  Bear in mind though, that every year just over 3000 foals need to be named.  Breeders are required to submit 3 names for each foal in case their first choice is not available.

Whilst I cannot give you the exact number of names that have to be checked every year, it does run into many thousands.  Names that are spelled exactly the same are easy to check as the computer does that for us.  It is the names that sound the same but are spelled differently that give us headaches.”

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