What’s In A Name: Cicero’s Gift, Gooloogong

4th-Wolverhampton, £17,600, Novice, 3-30, 3yo, 8f 142y.
CICERO’S GIFT (GB) (c, 3, Muhaarar {GB}–Terentia {GB}, by Diktat {GB}). O-Rosehill Racing; B-Mrs F S Williams (GB); T-Charles Hills.

Cicero’s Gift, another 3-year-old winner, has an intriguing name too–deeply rooted in ancient Roman history. Terentia is the name of the dam of our promising colt, but also of the rich, engaged and dutiful wife of the famous writer/politician/lawyer Cicero (106BC-43BC), a colossus of the turbulent last century of the Roman Republic and contemporary of history heavyweights Julius Caesar, Crassus, Pompey. Cicero was both a philosopher and a man of action (or inaction, at times, as some critics say). The marriage eventually ended in divorce; Cicero soon had a new wife but was eventually assassinated by hitmen sent by rival Mark Anthony (Cleopatra’s future beau). Terentia remarried too (twice), survived and prospered. What the “gift” in the name of our colt may allude to, we will probably never know–maybe that behind every great Roman consul there is a remarkable lady, clearly contributing to the good times.

4th-Navan, Mdn, 3-29, 3yo, 10fT.
GOOLOOGONG (IRE) (c, 3, Australia {GB}–Muwakaba, by Elusive Quality). O-Westerberg, Mrs J Magnier, M Tabor, D Smith; B-Capital Bloodstock (Ire); T-Aidan O’Brien.

The name of Navan winner Gooloogong has an impeccable Down Under connection, being by renowned sire (and Epsom & Irish Derby winner) Australia. In fact, “Gooloogong is a village located in New South Wales, Australia, population 295”, according to Wikipedia. The name of the hamlet also evokes (with a very slightly different spelling) that of Australian tennis phenomenon Evonne Goolagong, who was born in Griffith (a town) and grew up in Barellan (a village)–both locations are in New South Wales and not that far from, yes!, Gooloogong. Evonne Goolagong won seven Grand Slam tournaments between 1971 and 1980; she was a true champion and could have shined even more if not for interruptions caused by motherhood and injuries. The colt in question is also expected to shine and have a bright future at the Derby distance, so race commentators better start practicing the pronunciations of his lovely name, which is spelt with only one vowel recurring five times–exotically challenging.

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