The Best Christmas Racehorse Names

Features | 14th December 2022

Christmas really is the season to be jolly for racing fans

The festive period has seen some truly great stars down the years and there must be plenty of owners with a love of this time of year, too. That’s because Christmas themes have been used to name lots of racehorses. Here’s a look at a few of our favourites.

Santa Claus

Father Christmas famously drops off presents to all the world’s well-behaved kids on Christmas Eve but the equine Santa Claus delivered in some of Flat racing’s biggest races in 1964. 

Trained in Ireland by Mick Rogers, he won the Irish 2000 Guineas, Derby and Irish Derby before going on to finish runner-up in the Arc de Triomphe. He gave Australian jockey Scobie Breasley the first of his two Derby winners at Epsom.

Santa Claus winning the 1964 Derby


When Santa Claus retired to stud, not entirely surprisingly, he handed down a theme in the names of his offspring. The best of them was Reindeer. He won the 1969 Irish St Leger and was one of trainer Vincent O’Brien’s record nine victories in the Irish Classic. He was ridden to Curragh success by six-times Irish champion jockey Liam Ward.


Lots of people were looking forward to Christmas making his debut ahead of the 2018 season. Afterall, as a son of super stallion Galileo and American Grade 1-winning mare Christmas Kid, he had the pedigree to be a star.

He didn’t quite live up to those expectations. Trained by Aidan O’Brien, he did land a Tipperary Listed race as a two-year-old before chasing home stablemate Anthony Van Dyck, later to win the Derby, in the Group 2 Futurity Stakes at the Curragh. His siblings, Father Christmas and Michaelmas, also won races for O’Brien.

Christmas (right) chasing Ryan Moore

Kris Kringle

Another name for Father Christmas, Kris Kringle raced in the world-famous colours of powerful owner Robert Sangster in the late 1980s. Despite only making his debut in the spring of 1988 as a three-year-old, he quickly developed into a Classic prospect when winning the Derrinstown Derby Trial for Vincent O’Brien and jockey John Reid. It didn’t quite work out for the son of Kris. He finished in midfield in both the French Derby and the Irish St Leger before landing the Group 2 Blandford Stakes.

Plum Pudding

The cream of Plum Pudding’s wins was his Bunbury Cup success in 2009 when ridden to victory by Ryan Moore. Trained throughout his 49-race career by Richard Hannon, he had a particular liking for Newmarket. In all, seven of his eight wins came at the home of Flat racing. One of those came when ridden by apprentice jockey Hadden Frost, older brother of jumps rider Bryony.

Plum Pudding winning

Christmas Gorse

Holly and mistletoe are more usually associated with the festive period but it was Christmas Gorse that made Marcus Armytage’s eyes light up at the 1994 Cheltenham Festival. He gave the amateur jockey – now racing correspondent for the Daily Telegraph – his second win in the National Hunt Chase. 

Christmas Gorse, trained by Nick Gaselee, returned to the Festival for the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase the following season but he trailed in last of the nine finishers.

Balthazar King

Named after one of the three wise man, he was a hugely-popular chaser for Philip Hobbs. While his namesake brought myrrh to give to Jesus in Bethlehem, Balthazar King was a gift for fans of Cheltenham’s Cross-Country Chase. 

He won over the unique obstacles four times, including twice at the Festival, as well as finishing runner-up behind Pineau De Re in the 2014 Grand National for regular rider Richard Johnson.

Balthazar King (red) winning at Cheltenham

There’s plenty of great racing going on over the festive period. 

Check out our Fixture Finder to see great action near you.