How do I register my own racing colours?

Interestingly, according to Weatherbys, which administers British horse racing under contract to the regulatory authority, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), you do not need to be a registered owner under the Rules of Racing to register your own racing colours. Nevertheless, if you do own a racehorse outright, or as part of a partnership or syndicate that allows horses to run in the colours of individual owners, one of the perks of the ownership experience is to see your horse run in colours of your choosing.

Fairly obviously, no two sets of colours can be exactly the same. Standard racing colours, which can be registered on the BHA website, are available in 18 colours, but any combination of body, sleeve and cap is allowed, provided it is unique. Alternatively, prospective owners can design their own ‘bespoke’ colours, completely from scratch, which can be registered, subject to acceptance, for a fee of £5,000 plus VAT.

Historically, once an owner registered a set of colours, or ‘silks’, to be worn by a jockey riding any of his horses, he was entitled to those colours for life. However, that entitlement was removed during the inter-war years and nowadays owners must register their colours annually, or for a period of five, ten or twenty years. Consequently, the BHA offers the facility to buy the rights to so-called ‘vintage’ silks, which have been registered for five years or more and are no longer required by the original registrant.