Do Jockey’s Coloured Shirts Represent Anything?

Do Jockey’s Coloured Shirts Represent Anything?

The colour of jockey’s shirts is not picked at random. The hue and design of the jockey ‘silk’ will be unique to the owner of the horse that is being ridden.

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Historic origins are somewhat sketchy, although many hold the view that the silks derived from knights. If that theory is correct, silks have been used for over 500 years.

The registration of colours, by owners, has been certainly been going on since the 1760s and owners guard their own designs very jealously. Their silk is essentially their brand.

Let’s take a look at some of the most famous silks that you will see on racetracks, beginning with National Hunt (jumps).

Horses owned by JP McManus carry jockeys wearing green with yellow hoops. Hugely successful, JP is perhaps most famous for falling out with Sir Alex Ferguson, over the stud rights to Rock Of Gibraltar.

Pink with green spots is the design of the Ricci family. They have been dominant at Cheltenham, in recent years, with runners such as Douvan, Vautour and Annie Power.

rich ricci jockey silks-compressed

The Gigginstown House Stud horses are easily identifiable. The jockey will sport a purple silk with a huge white star on the front (and white hoops on the sleeves).

Flat racing owners also have distinctive silks. Here are some of the most recognisable;

Royal blue is the colour of Godolphin, owned by the immensely wealthy Sheikh Mohammed. You may have seen jockeys riding Dubawi, Prince Bishop and Dawn Approach wearing the Godolphin blue.

Godolphin jockey silks colours

The Queen’s silks are purple and scarlet, with intricate gold braiding on the front. The crowd always cheers louder, when one of her horses passes the winning-post in first place!

Perhaps the most iconic silk in racing is the green and white with a pink sash, worn by jockeys riding Prince Khalid Abdullah’s thoroughbreds. Quest For Fame, Commander in Chief and Workforce have all carried these silks to victory, in the Epsom Derby.

Silks make watching horse racing a lot more fun, as it’s much easier to pick out the horse that you have backed.

Sometimes, one owner will have more than one runner in a race. When this happens, there will always be something that distinguishes the horses, such as a different coloured helmet.

Silks certainly help make racing a colourful spectacle. From their origins in England, the custom of owners having their own jockey silks has spread across the globe.

What’s your favourite design?

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