For those amongst us who are not massive racing aficionados, choosing a horse can be tough. Not being clued on the form of all the horses or knowing a single thing about horse racing may make picking a horse quite hard. Instead, many either try and follow horse racing tips or choose their horses based on the outfit their jockey is wearing. But how do jockeys choose their silk colours? Let’s find out below!
Owner decides and registers
When it comes to horse racing, the horse owner has most of the say in what happens. The choice of the jockey silk and helmet is no exception. The owner will decide which colour of silk the jockey is wearing. It’s often one of the most exciting things that the horse owners actually get to do.
No two the same
There can be no two designs the same in any given race but with such a large selection it’s easy to assure it won’t happen. There are 18 basic colours to choose from and can be paired with 25 jacket designs, 12 sleeve designs and 9 different hat designs. This gives the owners a lot of scope for different and fairly unique designs including diamonds, spots, crosses, circles and checks to name a few. Once the availability of the colours is checked, the owners can register the silk and get it ready ahead of raceday.
More often than you would imagine, there are two horses and jockeys racing under the same owner. When this is the case there is usually a similarity in the silk colours and design but the jockeys will wear different hats. The hats will be the differentiating market between the two.
There are a number of very famous silks which have become synonymous with some top class jockeys and horses over the years. These types of silks can reach big money when they go to auction due to their fame.
Anywhere between the plain silks such as Goldphin’s Royal Blue or the Magnier’s Dark Blue all the way through to the more jazzy designs of famous jockeys over the years have become famous. Michael O’Leary’s distinctive burgundy red with white star design, known as his Gigginstown House Stud, has seen some high profile wins over the years and perhaps more famously, JP McManus’ green and yellow/gold hoops that were worn by Tony McCoy during his heyday are iconic silks.
Particularly wacky silks
Whilst there are a number of iconic silks, there are also some that are just plain wacky. Anything from the stars and stripes of the American flag all the way through to Cruella de Vil and Battenburg cakes have been designed throughout time. If you fancy trying your hand at designing your own wacky jockey silk, have a go at it here.
When it comes to jockey silks, it is all up to the owners and what they want to have. The jockeys and trainers have no say in the colours used. That’s the beauty of being a horse owner and one of the best things about it!