Resolved! Cup favourite gets name back

Australian horse Yucatan with Murray Bridge trainer Matthew Seyers. Picture: Russell Millard
Australian horse Yucatan with Murray Bridge trainer Matthew Seyers. Picture: Russell Millard

UNSUNG South Australian country trainer Matthew Seyers' reluctance to buckle amid the naming fiasco around Melbourne Cup favourite Yucatan was a catalyst for change.

Amid the furore, Racing Australia stepped in on Tuesday to amend strict conventions around the naming of visiting international horses, designed to avoid a clash with any local gallopers.

It led to Aiden O'Brien-trained Yucatan being registered as Yucatan Ire last week - despite the Irish stayer racing as Yucatan in his Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes win at Caulfield this month - after Australian officials discovered a Murray Bridge maiden, with $600 in prizemoney, with the same name.

Seyers said he couldn't see what the fuss was all about and had no issue with the Melbourne Cup contender running as Yucatan.

"We couldn't care less if that other thing stayed as Yucatan and raced as Yucatan," Seyers said.

"If it stayed in Australia it may have to (change its name), but if it's running in the Cup and going back (to England) it's not going to matter really."

Racing Australia chief executive Barry O'Farrell fast-tracked a change to allow the Irish Yucatan, part-owned by six-time Cup winner Lloyd Williams, to contest the $7.3 million feature as named after the VRC on Tuesday morning began driving the push to resolve the name clash before next Tuesday's race.

James McDonald and Yucatan take out the Herbert Power Stakes. Picture: Getty Images
James McDonald and Yucatan take out the Herbert Power Stakes. Picture: Getty Images

VRC racing manager Leigh Jordon commended O'Farrell for ending the impasse.

"He's rectified a situation that's silly, and congratulations to him," Jordon said.

"Sometimes in big organisations the wheel turns slowly, not in this case."

The decision also allows German import Sound Check to revert back after being re-registered Sound due to a clash with a West Australian sprinter.

Part-owner Nick Williams welcomed Racing Australia's action.

"I was just happy to play by the rules," Williams said.

"But it seemed a lot of other people thought it was a ridiculous situation to put ourselves in where we're changing something that's known … to something that creates confusion.

"Certainly, the people that have registered the horse here under the name Yucatan shouldn't be disadvantaged by it.

"They've done nothing wrong, whether it's running in a maiden at Murray Bridge or it's running in the Melbourne Cup, if they've got the name they should keep the name."


Seyers said Yucatan's owners, who had no intention to forfeit the name despite the three year-old's meteoric rise to prominence, were relieved.

He revealed part-owner Gary Wilks named the Domesday-Folk Rock gelding after reading up about an asteroid that "killed all the dinosaurs" in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

"They think it's a bit funny actually … the exposure that he's got," Seyers said.

Seyers purchased Yucatan at the Adelaide Magic Millions yearling sale in March last year.

The three-year-old gelding has raced once, finishing seventh and beaten six lengths at Morphettville in June.

Seyers explained how his Yucatan got his name.

"I think it came from some meteorite - he's by Doomsday - and some meteorite wiped out the dinosaurs and is was in the Yucatan peninsula."

Seyers said Yucatan will have a jumpout on November 15 with an aim of returning to the track in early December.

"He's got wins in him but he's definitely no superstar," Seyers said.

"I think when he first steps out he's probably going to be shorter than he should be just because of all this, but he's no world beater."