Racegoers will soon be able to cheer on Outlane the horse after its owners chose to name it after the Pennine village on the outskirts of Huddersfield.
But owner Spencer Chapman, at the Aston House Stud in Oxfordshire, was less concerned with Yorkshire than he was with King Arthur and Camelot.
“One of the perks of being a racehorse owner is that you get to name your horse in line with his or her pedigree.
“In this case Outlane’s pedigree is a sire called Camelot, and I just wanted to find a link to the sire’s name.”
That link came via a story in the Examiner last year. In his book Pennine Dragon: The Real King Arthur of the North author Simon Keegan identified King Arthur with a northern British king named Arthwys ap Mar and located Camelot at the old village of Slack, near Outlane, on a parcel of land close to the M62.
He was backed by Emeritus Professor Peter Field, formerly of Bangor University in North Wales, who is one of the country’s leading academics in Arthurian literature.
“Naming a horse is like naming a baby but it’s more fun with a horse. I saw that story and chose the name because of it,” says Mr Chapman, 50, whose family has run the stud at Watlington since the 1970s.
“Perhaps it’s a masculine name and not really suited to a bay filly but it is quite difficult to find names. And I thought Outlane was a fun name. I hope it brings us luck.”
Three-year-old Outlane is currently training at Newmarket with Luca Cumani, who has trained two Derby winners. And although Aston House does not have its own jockey it is hoped that she will be ridden by Jamie Spencer with whom the stable has previously enjoyed some success.
Adds Mr Chapman: “Outlane’s mother is a sister of one of the best horses that we have bred and owned called Bauer, named after Jack Bauer of 24. He nearly won the Melbourne Cup in 2008. He would have been the first British-owned and trained horse to do so.
“We have over three generations of Outlane’s family here; we have her grandmother here in retirement. We have been owner/breeders here for 40 years.
“There’s a good chance that Outlane will race in Yorkshire. We have had a lot of luck at York, Doncaster and Ripon. We have won the Doncaster Cup and one of our horses is the favourite for Ebor. We love Yorkshire and we would love to come up and race her there.”
News of Outlane’s name has thrilled Simon Keegan who says he had no idea his book would generate such interest.
“First the site of Camelot at Outlane received extra protection from Historic England, then the leading Arthurian professor at Bangor University backed my findings, then Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur film was premiered locally in Huddersfield, and now there’s a horse named after it!
“I’m really pleased with the interest in my findings. I released this book on the 1,500th anniversary of the Battle of Badon because I wanted the real King Arthur, a northern chieftain, to be recognised as a genuine historical leader.
“I was very pleased to be invited onto BBC Breakfast to talk about my book and it is now stocked by English Heritage, which means that when people go to the gift shop at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall they find out that they need to look a bit further north for the truth!”