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Mighty Quinn: A Name is a Name - or is it?

The sharing of new foal photos online every winter signals that we are heading into another naming season. While Thoroughbred birthdays are easy -- January 1st is the standard birthday for all racehorses born in the Northern Hemisphere -- coming up with a meaningful name for each foal can prove challenging as my great friend, award-winning cinematographer Mike Boland outlines so well in the piece below.

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MIGHTY QUINN: A Name is a Name - or is it?

By Mike Boland

One main reason that people change their name is to stand out. Mary becomes Moonchild, John becomes Beau or Biff. Movie people insert their rarely used middle name to provide distinction - a creative expression. I did it, if only slightly. I've always been Mike but I use Michael in correspondence because it sounds softer. Former Prime Minister Lester Pearson liked his nickname, Mike - made him sound 'harder'. Naming a horse works much the same way. There's been some fantastic names that evoked strength, speed and courage - Man O' War, Bold Ruler, War Admiral, Whirlaway - all great horses. My favourite is Ghostzapper, Adena Springs' famous stallion. I like the name Ghostzapper because it's odd but has a wonderful, melodious ring. Ghostzapper!

Ever tried to name a horse? Sounds easy but it's not. Like a proud father you beam upon the arrival of the little bundle of joy and only expect the best. This could be the one, the re-incarnation of Secretariat, but he needs a name. Let's be sure it's not hokey, stupid or trivial for our champion-in-waiting. Some thoroughbred people have traditionally tried to marry the names of the sire and mare. In our case the most gorgeous colt was born on February 6th, 2010, a chestnut with cream-coloured legs and a blond mane. He was out of Home Ice, sired by North Light. He could be called North Ice or Home Light or variations on that theme. One clever pundit pointed out the association between our country's fanatical reverence for the game of hockey and the mare's name, Home Ice. That started a barrage of name suggestions - Red Line, Golden Bobby, Bobby Nine, Bobby Four or Bobby Sixteen if you're a Philadelphia Flyer fan. I have an old hockey book with thousands of terms and explanations and, after a quick scan, I emphatically proposed the name Iron Blade - a term used to describe ice skates in the early 1900's. In true democratic fashion friends and colleagues joined the fray. Some liked Iron Blade while others took the name further, like Blade Runner. That was mentioned more than once but we still couldn't arrive at a consensus. Then Dennis Mills offered a most profound suggestion.

Dennis Mills with Granddaughter Quinn

Ask Dennis and he'll readily admit he's at sea in the naming of a horses. One of his greatest sources of pride and pleasure are his grandchildren. I'm sure that sentiment is shared by most grandparents but with Dennis the devotion borders on pathological. His oldest grandchild is a most beautiful young girl named Quinn. How about Mighty Quinn, he proposed? I thought this was a stroke of genius especially from a person uneasy at naming anything. 'The Mighty Quinn' was a Bob Dylan song made famous by the group Manfred Mann in the early 70's. Quinn was an Irish name and the sire was a great Irish champion. We think of Irish people having blond or red hair, a hereditary feature passed down through the generations from the marauding Viking hordes of the first millennium. That was our foal, that was our Quinn. So there you go, Mighty Quinn, become the next Secretariat for us and I hope you're proud of your name. Carry it well since you'll have it for the rest of your life. And remember one thing - your name didn't come easy!

Comments

Themighty Quinn is the best pacer in Australia and New Zealand, he has the most devasting turn of foot of any horse I have ver seen. If yours is half as good you have a superstar

By Greg

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