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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Olympic cycling heroine Laura Kenny gets herself an equine namesake

Lambourn trainer Harry Dunlop keen for juvenile to strike gold like star cyclist

Laura Kenny: Great Britain star has agreed to let her name be used for a racehorse
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Naming Frankel after legendary US trainer Bobby Frankel did not do him any harm, but an illustrious moniker can sometimes be a curse for a thoroughbred – so Harry Dunlop is hoping the equine Laura Kenny can live up to the achievements of her namesake.

A road and track cyclist, Kenny is Britain's most successful female Olympian courtesy of gold braces at the London and Rio events.

Dunlop, a keen cyclist himself who will take on a 100-mile charity ride in London this summer, initially wanted to name his Dutch Art juvenile using Kenny's maiden name Trott, but is still delighted the Great Britain star has agreed to let her name be used.

The two-year-old, out of the Group 1-placed Lottie Dod, has been leased for the cycling-inspired syndicate Velocity Racing, whose members share a love of two wheels and four legs.

Dunlop, who would love Laura Kenny to meet Laura Kenny at his Lambourn yard, said: "We asked if we could use her maiden name but she wanted to have her married name, which is understandable.

"She's just been picked by Team GB again and we thought it would be a good idea to name the horse after a cyclist like her.

"We'd like to get Laura down to the yard and I've communicated with her agent over this. It would be lovely if we could get her here as that's the whole point of our cycling syndicate, coming to see the horses and going cycling.

Laura Kenny: the equine version is a juvenile trained by Harry Dunlop

"If she came to see the horse it would be fantastic. The owners are enthusiastic and it's gone really well, and there are still some shares left."

Asked if the filly might be one for Royal Ascot, Dunlop added: "Absolutely! She's a sharp sort who's well bred and going nicely.

"She's by Dutch Art out of a mare who was third in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes, so she's got a pedigree. We're really pleased with her at the moment."

Laura Kenny is not the first, and won't be the last, horse to be named after a sports star – here we take a look at a few others...

Originally with Middleham Park Racing, who have been responsible for the football-themed Feed The Goater and De Bruyne Horse, the five-year-old takes his name from Manchester City's star Argentinian hitman Sergio Aguero and, more specifically, the famous commentary on his Premier League-winning goal against QPR in 2012.

The champion juvenile never got the chance to fulfil his potential, but showed more than enough to suggest trainer and breeder Jim Bolger was not a million miles off christening him after Cuban boxing legend Teofilo Stevenson, a three-time Olympic gold medal winner.

Owner Paul Reddam is a die-hard fan of the Detroit Red Wings ice hockey team and has named a few horses after their players, but none better than the 2016 Kentucky Derby winner who honours Swedish winger Gustav Nyquist.

Bred to be special as a younger brother to Derby hero Authorized, the son of Montjeu began his career at Ballydoyle but did not hit many sixes, unlike his West Indian namesake, who is among cricket's greatest ever all-rounders.

Entrepreneur Kaleem Shah, a Bundesliga fanatic, went a step further when naming his subsequent Breeders' Cup Classic winner Bayern after the Munich football team and followed up by calling a Big Brown colt Dortmund after their German rivals.

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She's just been picked by Team GB again and we thought it'd be a good idea to name the horse after a cyclist like her
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