Many years ago, en route to Epsom racecourse in the company of “Bubbles”, “Peanuts” and Arthur Foot, we were in the process of discussing early moves in the betting market….following the money….often emanating from the trainer’s stables.
Luca Cumani was a very successful trainer in those days; bookmakers and punters alike were wise to heed any morning trading on his runners for the day.
Racehorses are often given expressive names, perhaps in the hope that they would run faster….on occasion this formula works out….witness See the Stars, Nijinsky, Pebbles, The Minstrel. However, regarding nomenclature, the trainers also have to play with what they are given.
It is hard to imagine a more balanced, elegant and lyrical name than Luca Cumani. Five exquisite syllables. As an example of oral expression, it rolls so gracefully off the tongue.
Imagine then the horror, back in that car on the way to Epsom, discussing the forthcoming day’s racing, as Arthur Foot mutilated smooth ‘Luca Cumani’ into clunky ‘Lou Macani’….he probably got mixed up with the former Celtic footballer Lou Macari. It was a long journey that day.
In his new life, occupied by all things cycling, The Wattmeister, (Germanic, functional and 3 easy syllables), often encounters a similar situation when discussing drug culture within the professional and amateur cycling ranks.
He is frequently confronted in the gym by Loony and Bud (names changed to protect privacy), who proceed to bang on about the use of ‘Bob Hope’, ‘EPO’ and ‘Toss’ in the peloton….insinuating that it may even be prevalent within Muswell Hill Peloton!
The Wattmeister always puts up a robust defence of himself and his colleagues, but for many weeks was bewildered by the meaning of the word ‘Toss’. When he finally approached Loony for a definition, the reply shot back like a bullet….”Toss? That’s short for Tosterone!”
For some, words and names with 5 syllables should be banned.