Racing: Black-letter day for political correctness

Hall of Fame trainer David Hayes. Photo / Wayne Drought
Hall of Fame trainer David Hayes. Photo / Wayne Drought

Black Caviar is fine, so, too, is Black And Bent. But don't dare name your horse Blackman.

Hall of Fame trainer David Hayes was left stunned during the week after receiving notification that a filly in his stable called Blackman would require a name change following a public complaint.

Racing Information Services Australia (Risa), which control the registration and naming of horses, sent Hayes' Lindsay Park notice that the 2-year-old, who won on debut on July 10, could no longer keep her original name.

Hayes said there was no racial undertone in the name, which is in honour of the famous Australian artist Charles Blackman.

"The world is going mad," Hayes told the Herald Sun. "She is named after Charles Blackman and she is by Excellent Art, I thought it was a clever name, anything but racist.

"It is the most ridiculous thing, the biggest over-reaction I have ever seen."

Hayes said he had been told the move by RISA came following a single complaint: "It wasn't as if there was mass complaint, it was one complaint they received. I'm sure the rest of the owners will be as amused as I am."

Myles Foreman, chief executive of Risa, said a group of 10 people decided that Blackman could not continue racing under her current name.

"In this instance the concern was communicated internally to a review group, 10 people discussed the name, not one but 10 people with different views and different ages ... so you can get as much balance as possible into that conversation.

"That group determined that potentially there does need to be a discussion with the stable, which we did, so we acted in consultation with the stable and worked through it.

"I know there is a connection with the name to an artist and that was known to all parties, but to ensure that there is no possibility of a name being interpreted in another way, the Lady has been placed in front of it, it fits it quite nicely, Blackman has been retained and it becomes a balance."

Radio and television presenter John Blackman also weighed in on the debate, claiming he was upset the horse's named had to be changed.

"I am outraged and so is my wife. Political correctness gone absolutely crazy. By the way, I backed Blackman last week, so there."

- NZ Herald

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