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Saffron Waldon team to play the name game.

With the Vodafone Derby now just 11 days away, the name of Ireland's leading challenger, Saffron Waldon, may be about to be changed.

The mis-spelling of the Aidan O'Brien-trained colt, named after the Essex market town of Saffron Walden, prompted a telephone conversation between Coolmore and Weatherbys yesterday.

It is understood the owners of Saturday's Entenmann's Irish 2,000 Guineas winner, who is now vying for Epsom favouritism, were asking about the possibility of having the mistake corrected before June 5.

Saffron Waldon, who was a Goffs Sales topper when sold for IR1.2 million guineas as a yearling and has since won three of his four races, carries the colours of Sue Magnier, who chose the name because one of her friends lives in Saffron Walden.

It is not known at what stage of registration the error occurred. Coolmore's applications for names are submitted through a third party.

A Coolmore spokesman suggested it could have been due to an 'e' being read as an 'o' in a fax message.

Michael Tabor, a partner in the colt and an Essex man, is more concerned with events on Saturday week.

Tabor said: "When you look at the name, you can't believe that it is spelt wrongly, but it is. Whoever has made the mistake, God only knows, but I certainly won't be thinking about the spelling if he wins the Derby."

Weatherbys director of racing Paull Khan, who is adamant the name submitted was Saffron Waldon, said Weatherbys staff, "where possible", point out apparent mistakes.

Saffron Waldon, if that is how he remains, joins a lengthy list of well-known racehorses for whom spelling mistakes were no barrier to success.

Recent examples have included Cape Verdi - named after the archipelago off the African coast spelt Cape Verde - and Rodrigo de Triano, who remembered the sailor who first sighted the island of San Salvador on Columbus's mission of discovery, Rodrigo de Triana.

Similar cases are top stayer Celeric, who should have been Celeriac, a root vegetable, and The Toiseach, very nearly the Irish premier, the Taoiseach.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Greene, Graham (English writer)
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:May 25, 1999
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