By Andrew Atkinson
Racehorse owner Nick Rhodes has had his ears bent by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) – and told to rename horse BUGGERLUGS!
“We are distraught by being told to change the name of the horse. My late father used to call me ‘little Buggerlugs’ as a child,” said Rhodes.
Rhodes named his two-year-old colt Buggerlugs, in memory of his late father Les, who took his son to his first race meeting at York, aged 10.
Ahead of Buggerlugs debut at Beverley this month, Rhodes was told he would have to think of new name for Buggerlugs, after the BHA deemed most people would be unfamiliar with it – and notice the unpleasant swear word.
“I had a call to say they were not happy with the name and if we didn’t come up with an alternative quickly they would have to pull the horse from the race,” said Rhodes.
Retired chairman of national mortgage brokers the New Homes Group, Rhodes has named all his runners after his home county, including five-time winner Eeh Bah Gum.
Rhodes’ horses have their own Facebook pages, run by his wife Lena and had ordered ‘Buggerlugs’ sweatshirts for his followers.
The son of Shalaa, who joins Eeh Bah Gum and Flippin’ Eck on the team, was named officially last summer with Weatherbys.
A spokesperson for the British Horseracing Authority said: “On further consideration, the name was viewed as inappropriate.
Rhodes, who purchased his first horse Yorkshire Pudding eight years ago, said: “I think it’s disrespectful to the people of Yorkshire, our culture and dialect.”
Buggerlugs was a word said in an affectionate manner during Rhodes childhood.
The Cambridge Dictionary describes Buggerlugs: the ‘informal, old-fashioned’ term is ‘for referring or speaking to someone in a slightly insulting but friendly way’.
Comments aired following Buggerlugs name ban, include: ‘I call my husband buggerlugs all the time – the definition in the Urban Dictionary of an older, grumpy person suits him down to the ground!”
Another added: ‘My parents always called me buggerlugs and it’s often what I’ll call the horses or the cat. It’s not a word that’s used in a derogatory manner infact the total opposite.’
Another said: ‘What is this country coming to? I am 72 and my dad used to call me that when I was a child, oh for the old days when you could say what you meant and none of this woke rubbish, there is a horse called Thomas Crapper.’
Rhodes, who renamed Buggerlugs, to Sling Yer Hook, is to fight the decision: “We want Buggerlugs’ name reinstated. I think we have been badly treated.
“We have done a lot for racing over the years and lots of people enjoy following our horses. It spoilt our first day at the races with him,” said Rhodes.
*If you have recollections of being called Buggerlugs send details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Caption: Buggerlugs: name change to Sling Yer Hook.