Whenever there is horse race the jockeys who steer the horses wear shirts that are known as silks. These silks are often colorful and have different patterns. They are worn to signify who owns the horse and not who trains, or rides the horse. The beauty of the silks means that it is of great benefit to commentators as trying to distinguish between horses from any distance can be quite difficult. A simple power of deduction can easily and quickly reveal the name of the horse that is being concentrated on. Sometimes an owner may have two horses in the same race and on these occasions the jockey may be asked to wear the owner’s second colors.
Originally, the shirts were made of silk but today the silks are made from a combination of drag-resistant Lycra and polyester. In a business where the jockeys spend a great deal of time trying to make the lightest weight it is important that their silks are virtually weightless.
Any owner who wishes his horses to partake in a registered race must register their colors. This costs of the registration is at least five thousand pounds although the silks are only worth around 50 pounds. However, once the registration has been completed the color and design will be the owners for as long as they stay registered as an active owner. When choosing their colors the owners choose from 18 different colors, 25 different shapes and 12 sleeves. If an owner decides to leave horse racing, he can auction off his colors. These auctions are busy affairs as over the years many of the most popular colors have been taken. Colors can also be inherited which will keep them in the same family.
The race meetings will often see the owners dressing in a manner that will match their horse’s silks. There are a number of owners whose silks are recognized around the world but few are more famous than Queen Elizabeth II colors. The purple and red top with gold braiding is one of the most stands out in any race that the Queen has a horse running. Many people will have a bet on one of her horses for the sole reason of her position and nothing to do with the chances the horse may have of winning.
The Queen however owns a number of top horses and over the years she has achieved considerable success with her horses winning all of the British classic races except the Derby. The Queen breeds her own horses at the Royal Stud on her Sandringham estate and then they are sent one of the six top trainers in the country to prepare for racing. Another famous set of silks are those worn by jockeys for the owner John Magnier. His jockeys wear either dark blue silks or bright pink, and he is the owner of the Coolmore stud with his horse being sent to Aiden O’Brien at Ballydoyle to train. The stud is worth over 4 billion euros and he is currently the most influential man in racing.
Not far behind him is Sheikh Mohammed who owns Godolphin racing. The horses wear blue and Godolphin runs several stables around the world. Prior to creating Godolphin Sheikh Mohammed had his own separate horses and they ran in the colors of maroon and white. His horses have achieved world-wide success since he created the Godolphin team.
The silks are highly sorted by racehorse owners and when Aiden O’Brien bought for his wife the pink silks it cost him nearly 70,000 euros. The top races in the UK are dominated by the colors of certain owners. Each year they are prepare to pay the highest fee to buy the young horses with the best pedigree. Success breeds success.