History of Jockey Silks: Race-horses that Immortalised their Silks

When you hear the word 'silks' paired with fascinating fascinators at The Sun Met celebrated with Mumm, you'd be forgiven for thinking it's all about the fashion and glamour, but there's something special about what they represent. Let's take a look at the story behind the jockey silks.

Dating back to when horse-racing started to become a popular sport and more horses started participating it became necessary to identify horses to allow commentators and race-goers to follow their favourite in the two-minute sprint to glory. "Colours" or the coloured fabric used to create these unique outfits for jockeys were made from silk, hence the name 'silks' referred to as 'traditional' uniform, with 'modern' attire made more comfortable with performance based fabrics.

Trusted silks are sign of good stock

The racing silks not only identify the horse (and jockey), but specifically the owner who might race a horse to show it off to potential buyers who can identify the grade of stock produced by a particular farm or owner based on the silks of their horse. Iconic silks made famous by its champions were often retired as a sign of respect.

The Top 3 Thoroughbreds of all-time (who are no longer active) according to horseracingnation.com gives us a little look into some of the legends that have immortalised the racing silks they wore:


Owned by Penny Chenery (The "First Lady" of Horse-racing) - Meadow Stable

Image source: http://www.horseracingnation.com/horse/Secretariat#

MAN'O'WAR (1917)

Owned by Samuel Riddle

Image source: http://www.horseracingnation.com/horse/Man_O_War#

Did you know? The silks of Man'o'War are based on a war admiral's uniform because of his breeders involvement in the military. This legendary horse became a national sporting hero and symbol of hope at the start of World War 1.


Owned by Hawksworth Farm

Image source: http://www.horseracingnation.com/horse/Spectacular_Bid_photos

What makes a winner? Studies say it's all about heart

According to horseinfo.com, known around the world in horse circles as a leading publisher of up-to-date information on breeding, training and raising of horses, the list of champions determined by researchers to have carried large hearts. 

Not surprisingly, these top 3 favourites are among the selection of natural winners: Secretariat, Man o' War, Spectacular Bid, Count Fleet, Citation, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Mill Reef, Nijinsky II, Northern Dancer, Native Dancer, Kelso, John Henry, Alysheba, Easy Goer, A.P. Indy, Forty Niner, and Cigar.

Experience a million thrills in two minutes with this spectacular footage of Secretariat earning his top spot and adding a special flavour from the 1970s to the Decades of Glamour that have come from the winners and their silks.

It's all about the energy on #RaceDay! Don't miss out - buy your tickets to The Sun Met celebrated with Mumm taking place on 28 January at Kenilworth Racecourse in Cape Town, and experience it for yourself!


A Day in the Life of a Racehorse - Racehorse Training and Feeding

"Behind every racehorse lies an impossible dream and an expert team who have an optimistic view of the flexibility of the term 'impossible'." – Anonymous

Spoiler alert: If you haven't experienced the electric thrill of a horse race, you're in for a surprise at The Sun Met celebrated with Mumm on 28 January.

With #RaceDay around the corner, it's easy to get caught up in the pursuit of the perfect outfit and the after-party excitement. However, seasoned punters will tell you, the best part about #RaceDay lies beyond the fabulous frocks and selfies with celebs… The best part about #RaceDay, quite simply, is the race! Heart-thumping action, exhilarating stakes and terrific triumphs – all in under two minutes. The only question is, are you ready?

As you'd expect, two minutes of magic requires months of hard work and dedication behind the scenes. Peek at the people in the life of a racehorse to appreciate the wonder of being fast as a whip:

Horse trainer

The horse trainer prepares the horse for races with the primary responsibility of getting the horse race-ready through consistent exercise. To get the horse used to human contact, a horse trainer uses his voice and plenty of physical contact.


Usually nominated by the horse trainer, the jockey rides the horse in races for a fee, along with a percentage of the purse winnings.

Did you know? Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup in 2015.
Did you know? Horse racing legends Muis Roberts and Mike de Kock were the first people to be inducted to the Racing Association's Legends of The Saddle wall.

Horse groomers

Beyond the grooming and bathing of the horse, groomers are usually responsible for tasks such as feed preparation and distribution, cleaning the stall, cleaning and refilling water containers, cleaning tack, bandaging legs, tacking up, and ensuring basic first aid for cuts and scrapes. Horse groomers, also known as grooms, may also warm up or cool down a horse for the jockey if he or she has riding experience.

Did you know? Saddles, stirrups, bridles, halters, reins, bits, harnesses, martingales, and breastplates are all forms of horse tack.

If you haven't booked your ticket for The Sun Met celebrated with Mumm, here's your chance. Book NOW!