Ashforth’s Angles: what’s in a name anyway?
Libby T Valance is either named after the John Wayne film or bedding
Ashforth's Angles: what's in a name anyway?
By David Ashforth 5:41PM 27 NOV 2016
AT PLUMPTON, one name stands out. The name is Godfrey Maundrell. He is an easy trainer to follow because following him is the same as following Tambura, Maundrell's sole representative for the last two seasons.
Maundrell favours rain and plenty of it, at least when Tambura is ready to run. Tambura probably has the most enormous feet, like that multiple Olympic gold medal winning swimmer, Ian Thorpe. Thorpe was very good in the wet and Tambura is the same, all his four wins coming on either soft or heavy ground.
That promising beanpole Mr Zac Baker has been on board for all Tambura's triumphs and rides the six-year-old again on Monday (2.00). Unfortunately, the ground probably won't be soft enough and Tambura's handicap mark, now 121, probably too hard. Still, you never know. Donald Trump won and he's a lot less appealing than Tambura.
There's not much you can teach Maundrell about horses and not only because he left school over 50 years ago. A stalwart of the hunting field, Maundrell rode 150 point-to-point winners, the last of them when over 60. In 2010, aged 61, Maundrell won three hunter chases on Lisadell King. Has Paul Nicholls done that? Or Willie Mullins? No, of course not. They gave up while Maundrell rode on, like John Wayne. My case rests.
Wayne was in that great western film, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Any film featuring James Stewart, Lee Marvin and Lee Van Cleef is worth watching and the owners of Libby T Valance (Libby T, Liberty – get it?) probably had the film in mind during the naming ceremony. On the other hand, Libby T Valance (Ludlow 1.10) may have been named after bedclothes and will be followed by Mark R Duvet and Carol L Pillowcase.
Libby T Valance has only two horses to beat but although Rebecca Curtis's five-year-old is promising it's worrying that her namesake was, indeed, shot dead. Perhaps the theory is that it will make Libby T run faster.
Those intrigued by names may notice that L Frank Baum also runs at Ludlow (3.10). Lyman Frank Baum wrote an enormous number of books, notably The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which temporarily staved off financial disaster. When Baum had money he tended to spend it on theatre productions with the result that he didn't have money for long.
If Baum was still alive (he isn't) he'd be 160 and thrilled to find that a horse had been named after him. The horse is now nine and the winner's enclosure a challenge to his memory but he's giving conditional jockey Robert Williams more experience, although he's got quite a lot already.
In the same race, the already able Stan Sheppard has another ride for Henry Daly, for whom he won on Nordic Nymph at Bangor on Saturday. Unfortunately, the horse is Brave Buck, a mudlover who, perhaps taking against mud and preferring to stop, has pulled up in three of his last four races. As consolation, Sheppard also rides Upbeat Cobbler for Daly (1.40).
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