Bespoke BHA Silks Trial Extended As Nine Striking New Sets Of Colours Approved

• Nine owners invited to register bespoke new silks following conclusion of initial phase of BHA trial

• Trial will now be extended to offer owners the opportunity to submit non-standard designs for consideration on a more permanent basis
• Proceeds from the scheme to go to charity and to help fund projects to enhance ownership experience.

Following a successful initial trial, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced today that nine successful applicants have been invited to register their bespoke owners’ colours for use on British racecourses.

The successful submissions feature a striking mixture of personal and corporate designs. Applicants included representatives of businesses such as lifestyle brand Joules (floral design), Oi Digital Ltd (black with orange diamond matrix) and Regulatory Finance Solutions (dark blue with a red and white stripe) who have taken the opportunity to bring their corporate branding to British racecourses.

Owing to the success of the trial, the BHA is to offer owners the opportunity to submit bespoke silks designs for consideration on a permanent basis.

The trial, which took place throughout February, offered owners the chance to design their own racing silks. While the colours had to be distinguishable and describable for judges and the racing public, for the first time they did not need to conform to the usual restrictions.

Designs which met the required criteria could then be registered by the owners at a cost of £5,000.

Following the permanent extension of the trial, individuals and businesses can continue to submit potential new designs via the BHA website, again with the £5,000 fee for successful applicants.

20 per cent of the fee will be split between Racing Welfare and Retraining of Racehorses, with other proceeds from the scheme helping to better recruit and retain racehorse owners. This will include funding enhancements to the selection of colours available as part of the standard range to ensure all racehorse owners can benefit.

The permanent extension of the scheme has resulted from feedback during the initial trial phase which outlined the potential of the scheme to attract new owners, particularly from the corporate world.

Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer of the BHA, said:

“The trial was conceived to help gauge the appetite among owners for bespoke silks. After five weeks we now understand better the sort of designs that owners would like to register and also the opportunities that the liberalisation of owners’ colours offers.

“It’s been pleasing to see such a wide range of different owners engage with the trial and with sole owners and partnerships submitting designs, along with companies too, it highlights a broad appeal.

“In the coming months, we will be look to build on the trial and give owners more choice both as part of the standard colours available to all owners and through a more permanent option to register premium silks.”

Tom Joule, founder of the premium lifestyle brand Joules and one of the successful applicants, said:

“Horse racing is a passion of mine and, after I started my business on the Point-to-Point circuit nearly 30 years ago, Joules is now listed on the London stock exchange. Colour, print and fun has been at the heart of that story; taking a classic and giving it a unexpected twist, hopefully to make someone smile.

“Fashion and horse racing are close to my heart and this is a wonderful way of putting my two loves together. To be able the have colours that are original and unique embodies my whole ethos; how could I resist not putting an idea forward.

“I think it’s a marvellous move by British racing and will help broaden its appeal.”

David Ashley, Managing Director of Oi Digital Ltd and another successful applicant, said:

“We thought this was a great opportunity to get everybody within our company more involved with our horses and we ran a company-wide design competition.

“Everybody from the cleaner through to the managing director submitted ideas and we asked each member of the team to vote for their favourite ideas – it was great fun and helped get the team behind our horses.

“We wanted our racing silks to be unique and to stand out so people can immediately recognise that it’s an Oi horse. Having a design that also abstractly reflects the nature of our business is an

added bonus.” 

Bespoke designs can continued to be submitted at:

Currently there are 18 shades of colour in the BHA approved colour palette for racing silks in Britain. There are 25 patterns on the body, 12 patterns on the sleeve and 10 patterns on the cap. There are 14,000 sets of colours registered in Britain.

The fee to register the premium colours permanently is £5,000 + VAT.