The unique spectacle that is the Grand National attracts viewers from across the world, many of them experiencing the event for the first time.
When placing a bet on their chosen horse, most are swayed by the colours and pattern of the silks the jockeys and runners wear, often choosing their favourite combination to take a punt on!
But the Grand National colours and silks have more significance than helping race-goers and viewers to pick their runner. Find out the history and meaning behind the jockeys’ colours.
Why do Grand National jockeys wear different colours?
Each jockey wears different silks to help commentators and punters distinguish one from another. Jockey silks were introduced by The Jockey Club in 1762, following complaints from racegoers that they couldn’t tell the horses and riders apart during the race.
Although the horses are numbered, this isn’t easily visible during the race. The bold, bright colours and patterns of the jockeys’ outfits enable spectators to keep track of their chosen rider as it thunders down the home-straight towards the Finishing Post.
What do Grand National runners’ colours mean?
Many people new to horseracing are surprised to learn that the colours aren’t chosen by the jockey but are associated with the owner of the horse. A jockey may have multiple rides throughout the day and may have to change silks for each race to match with the owners’ colours.
It is quite common for the owner of multiple racehorses to have more than one horse running in a race. In these instances, the jockeys run in the same silk colours but with different coloured caps.