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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Campbell hits the inspiration behind some of racing's favourites

Glen Campbell: music star and naming inspiration
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Glen Campbell, the country music star, died on Tuesday aged 81 having spent six years battling Alzheimer's disease.

An influential singer, songwriter, musician, television host and actor, Campbell also had a lasting, if unintentional, impact on horseracing, providing the inspiration for the names of a number of horses through the titles of his popular songs.

Naming horses can be a difficult process, but Campbell’s famous words helped owners, particularly Coolmore’s John Magnier, find fitting names for some of their stars.

Wichita Lineman: reached number three in US chart

Wichita Lineman

One of Campbell’s most famous songs and one of the Cheltenham Festival’s most famous winners.

Wichita Lineman reached number three in the US pop chart and topped the US country music chart for two weeks. It is regarded as one of the greatest songs of all time.

In racing, the name will forever be associated with Sir Anthony McCoy’s astonishing winning ride on the JP McManus-owned and Jonjo O’Neill-trained chaser at the 2009 Cheltenham Festival. You know the one.

Rhinestone Cowboy: Campbell's best-known song and a high-class hurdler

Rhinestone Cowboy

Peaking at number one in Canada, the US and Ireland, Rhinestone Cowboy is Campbell’s best-known song.

The equine Rhinestone Cowboy was a high-quality hurdler twice winning at Grade 1 level and finishing third to Rooster Booster (who inspired the name of British band Rooster) in the 2003 Champion Hurdle.

Gentle On My Mind

Written by John Hartford, Gentle On My Mind was sung by Campbell and became a regular fixture on the radio. Campbell used the song as the theme to his television variety show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour between 1969 and 1972.

Like Witchita Lineman and Rhinestone Cowboy, Gentle On My Mind was originally owned by John Magnier and won on her debut in 2008. She is now the dam of the likes of Roger Varian’s useful colt Solomon’s Bay.

Southern Nights (right): Campbell's fifth and final number one hit

Southern Nights

Originally written and recorded by Allen Toussaint, Southern Nights was covered by Campbell and became his fifth, and final, number one hit.

The four-legged Southern Nights also started with someone else, making his debut for Pam Sly before moving to Kim Bailey. He was twice a winner and was second in a Grade 2 novice hurdle at Cheltenham in December 1996.

In racing, the name will forever be associated with Sir Anthony McCoy’s astonishing winning ride
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