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Brian Miller
Monday, Jun 30, 2014

Sports

Racehorses named after footballers: What's in a mane?

The New Paper | Brian Miller | Monday, Jun 30, 2014

Prediction? Giggler representing Uruguay.

It was with a grin and a slow shake of the head that I watched the horses being put through the ritual of "picking winners" for four of the Round Of 16 matches.

The results of the last round suggested they cannot tell the difference between a football and their feed bin.

Still, I watched them do their thing. After all, just like football's the beautiful game, a horse in full flight is a thing of beauty.

Out on the track, a horse named Giggler had just beaten a stablemate called Haizum.

The winner wore the colours of Uruguay.

It had "spoken".

Giggler was telling you to put your money on Uruguay beating Colombia.

I grinned even more; I am still going for Colombia.

After checking, I found out that Giggler was ridden by someone named Chihiro. Now, that is a nice name for a Japanese footballer.

It got me thinking, how many racehorses are named after footballers?

One quickly came to mind. Van Nistelrooy. In his heyday, Ruud the Dutchman was a pretty nifty player. On the racetrack, Van Nistelrooy the galloper was a champ and a pretty good sire.

Indeed, it fathered a horse named - wait for it - Van Basten which, before that, was named Fifa.

No joke.

Alas, Van Basten the horse was not much of a "striker" and he "scored" just once in 23 appearances in Singapore.

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