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Naming a Racehorse

The following Guidelines should be followed by Owners who are making an application to the Registrar of Racehorses for the naming of a racehorse. Please be aware that the Registrar of Racehorses considers very seriously what is publicly acceptable and the name of a racehorse should not create controversy nor bring the racing industry into disrepute.

Registrar’s Discretion, please refer to the Australian Rules of Racing as follows:


(a) The Registrar may refuse to register any name which for any reason he may deem undesirable.

(b) The Registrar may cancel any horse’s registered name for whatever reason he deems necessary.

General information

Before submitting a list of names for consideration it is recommended that you use the Horse Name Search tool to check if the names are currently restricted for use. If no exact match is found you should also check for similar sounding names as names deemed too similar in pronunciation to a name with a current naming restriction will not be permitted except at the discretion of the Registrar. Please visit to use the Name Search tool.

To ensure your application is not delayed, please ensure you provide at least three name choices on the application form and only include names that you really want. Names will be checked for availability and compliance with these naming guidelines in the order they are presented on the form.

Please note horses that are to be registered in Australia and that have names registered in New Zealand are still subject to the same naming restrictions that apply to horses registered in Australia. Names are verified against names registered in New Zealand.

Names for other overseas bred horses must also be available in the horse’s country of birth as well as being available on the Australian Registration of Racehorses.

The following guidelines apply to the naming of racehorses in Australia:

  • The maximum length of a name is 18 characters, including spaces and apostrophes.
  • Names may be rejected if they are difficult to pronounce or read. For further guidance on names which may be rejected, see below.
  • Similar sounding names or names deemed too similar in pronunciation to a name with a current naming restriction will not be permitted.
  • A name cannot be repeated for 17 years after the birth of a horse with the same name or for 20 years after the year of birth of the youngest named produce of a horse with the same name. The name of a horse becomes available for consideration on 1st August of the year of any naming restriction expiring.
  • In accordance with the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities the names of major race winners are restricted for longer periods and in some cases can never be re-used e.g. Melbourne Cup winners and the names of horses whose performance at stud warrants special protection. The international list of protected names is available at
  • Plural names of a name already granted are only considered when there is sufficient time between registrations of names of a horse. This is to alleviate any possibilities of two or more horses with similar sounding names racing against each other.
  • Names where the meaning or origin cannot be satisfactorily substantiated will not be accepted.
  • Any name, the use of which would be contrary to law, will not be accepted.
  • The Registrar reserves the right to reduce, extend or add a naming restriction at any time.
  • Please note names cannot be reserved.

International horses

In the event that a horse foaled and is named in another country enters Australia to race and its name does not conform to Australian naming guidelines or its name is subject to a current naming restriction in Australia, the overseas horse may be required to change its name. In determining whether or not a horse will be required to change its name, the Registrar will take into consideration the horses’ breeding potential, race history, race performance and its current status.

Unacceptable names

The Registrar will use its discretion under AR18 to refuse the following names for registration.

Offensive names

Names which, either on their own or in the context of the sire and/or dam’s name:

  • are suggestive, scandalous or have a vulgar or obscene meaning;
  • are considered in poor taste;
  • may be offensive or appear to be designed to harass, humiliate or disparage a specific individual or a religious, political, ethnic or other group; and
  • which have the potential to create controversy under current social standards, will not be accepted for registration. This applies to words written in English and other languages.

Use of numbers

Names made up entirely of numbers e.g. ONE, TWO, THREE, FIRST, SECOND, THIRD, SEVENTY EIGHT, will not be accepted for registration.

First names and surnames

  • First name and surname combinations (fictitious or otherwise) will not be accepted. Two first names may be considered provided that they are not construed as an obvious given name and surname or have a reference to a celebrity or public figure.
  • Combinations of words which identify a person (public figure or otherwise) will not be accepted.

Letters and grammar

  • Single letters and abbreviations such as FBI, UFO, X RAY, COMPANY B etc. will not be accepted. Single letters such as “A” and “I” are acceptable as they are deemed to be words.
  • Except at the discretion of the Registrar of Racehorses, words cannot be run together e.g. GOTTOFLY would be registered as GOT TO FLY.

Brands and company names

The following will not be accepted for registration:

  • names that clearly have a commercial, artistic or creative significance including butnot limited to the names of well-known organisations, companies and brands;
  • The Registrar reserves the right to refuse registered company or business names; and
  • registered trade marks, pending applications to register trade marks and common law trade marks.

Racing references

Names that may cause conflict with wagering or racing terms and/or that have the potential to cause confusion for racing administration and racegoers will not be accepted.

Examples include:

  • Features of a racecourse such as MOUNTING YARD or FINISHING POST
  • Wagering terms such as TRIFECTA
  • Names of race meetings such as GOLDEN SLIPPER

The Registrar of Racehorses reserves its right to refuse any name submitted on an application to register a racehorse under AR 18(a).