British Horseracing Authority apologise for racist horse name

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has apologised after complaints over a racist horse name during a race at Wolverhampton last weekend.

Awareness of the controversial name spread on social media with the three-year-old filly’s name, “Jungle Bunny”, a derogatory term for a Black person, not picked up by the BHA, who have confirmed they will now review the process for approving names moving forward.

The BHA claimed the name of the horse has now been changed and that there will be a new filter to avoid offensive names.

Some of the remarks on social media saw fans admit they were “gobsmacked” by the “unforgivable” name.

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Despite efforts to bring attention to the offensive name before the race, she took part under the name with Darragh Keenan riding her to a sixth place finish on her debut in the 18:15 race, with Richard Kingscote riding the David Loughnane-trained Ffion to victory.

Despite racing under the offensive name, TV commentator, Derek Thompson, did not mention the name during the race.

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The BHA admitted concern at how the name was allowed to pass and also confirmed the new name is now Jungle Bells.

“Racist language is not tolerated in our sport, whether intentional or accidental,” a BHA spokesperson was quoted as saying by British media.

“We have taken steps to ensure the horse was renamed immediately. It is now called Jungle Bells. This will be reflected in records of the race result and horse form.

“We are deeply concerned as to how this happened and are reviewing the processes for approving names of racehorses.”

Assistant trainer Emma Folkes said she was responsible for the controversial name.

“I didn’t have a clue,” she said. “Nobody in the yard had said anything and I can only apologise.

“It was a totally innocent mistake.”

Emma Evans, the wife of the horse’s owner-trainer David Evans, claimed the name was an innocent mistake and was selected due to the filly’s sire, Bungle Inthejungle.

“David’s daughter gave us the horse and there’s a computer game called Jungle Bunny Run, which her son loves playing,” Evans said.

“I just thought, that’ll do. I had no idea. It was completely innocent and that is the gospel truth. None of the staff said anything, nobody else said anything and I’m totally flabbergasted.

“I’m upset because we’ve had our Sunday ruined by everybody ringing about it. It makes you look like a racist, which I am certainly not.”

Reuters contributed to this report

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