Striking racing silks set for online auction

07 Sep 2016 Grassroots

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today announced plans to release six sets of never-before-seen racing colours to be sold through an online auction from Monday 12 September.

The designs stand out as distinct from any of the 14,000 sets of colours currently registered and can be viewed and bid on via

In addition to colours sporting classic horseshoe, anchor and rainbow designs, vibrant sets of silks resplendent in multi coloured spots, flames and four bright shades of red will also be on offer for owners who are looking to make a visual splash with their runners on raceday.

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All colours have a reserve price of £5,000 and bidding closes at 8pm on Friday 23 September with 5% of all proceeds split between Racing Welfare and Retraining of Racehorses, the official charities of the BHA. The remainder of the income will be targeted at initiatives to improve racehorse ownership and better help recruit and retain racehorse owners.

All bids should be made via the Colours Auction Microsite, while progress of the auction can also be followed on the BHA Website.

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

“We hope that the opportunity to own exciting and unique designs will be a tempting proposition for an owner to ensure their runners really stand out. Racing colours identify you as an owner and some iconic silks have become synonymous with great horses and owners over the years. The six sets we are putting up for auction on Monday certainly represent something different and could provide someone with the opportunity to have their name and runners associated with some striking and distinct sets of silks.”

The auction has been devised and introduced as a result of the Racing industry’s Strategy for Growth. One of the key aims of the Strategy is to grow racehorse ownership by improving the retention of existing owners and introducing more new owners to the sport. Unlike in some other racing nations, racing colours in Great Britain are currently restricted to 18 shades and a few select patterns, and greater flexibility in designing racing colours is something that may be welcomed by owners, both current and future, as well as generating increased interest in the sport.

The response from owners to the auction will help indicate the appetite for liberalisation of racing colours and further work could include exploring an increase in the number of allowable designs while also opening up opportunities for owners to create personalised silks.

Alongside the colours auction a number of recommendations relating to ownership have been delivered by the Strategy for Growth and, following the completion of the largest ever survey of racehorse owners led by the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) earlier this year, work already in progress includes the overhaul of ownership administration and an increased focus on syndicates, including a nationwide promotion to be launched by Great British Racing later in the year.

Richard Wayman added:

“One of the ownership recommendations emanating from the Strategy for Growth was that a more liberal approach should be taken to racing colours and, more specifically, being able to link designs to the colours of a club or business may be a way to open up racehorse ownership to a new audience.

“As a first stage, we are offering these six unusual designs with a view to assessing interest levels from owners for something a bit different. If they prove popular, we can progress the project with the ultimate aim of providing owners with much greater choice when designing their colours.”

Charlie Liverton, Chief Executive of the Racehorse Owners Association, said: 

“The ROA is delighted to see owner-centric initiatives taking place to further enhance their enjoyment of the ownership journey. Liberalising and personalising colours is one such initiative taking place, and we look forward to seeing how owners respond to the colours offered in this auction.”

Notes to editors:

1.More information about the Strategy for Growth can be found here.

2. A total of 5% of all proceeds will be split between Racing Welfare and Retraining of Racehorses, the official charities of the BHA.