CHOOSING THE COLOURS
An owner’s colours (jersey and cap) remain the same, irrespective of the jockey or the horse, as he or she is the exclusive holder. Recognition via the colours is unmistakeable and horse racing was a forerunner in this respect. Decades later, it was adopted by other sports, with footballers, rugby players and cyclists all taking inspiration from the jockeys’ silks for the creation of the first shirts.
The choice of racing silks is never without importance and often has a connected story, such as the favourite colours of a family member or homage to the colours of a region, a coat of arms, a football club, etc. The colours are sometimes passed down over several generations, with only their arrangement varying.
During his approval application, the owner picks his colours from among those available, on the basis of a pre-established scheme resulting from the combination of several elements: the jersey (25 patterns), the sleeves (12 patterns),
the cap (10 patterns) and the colours authorised by France Galop (18). The three components, jersey, sleeves and cap, must be described in that order and consist of two shades (or in exceptional cases, three).
FRANCE GALOP'S INITIATIVE
So that the owner does not have to go it alone, France Galop has initiated and developed varied means of access to race horse ownership. Whether exclusive, shared or just one of many,
ownership of a horse is now possible in numerous configurations, allowing all types of investors to pool their resources. This lessens the financial risk but not the pure enjoyment of seeing one’s colours cross the finish line.
BUYING A RACEHORSE
Next comes the purchase of the horse. For this tricky task, some owners follow the advice of the trainer they have chosen, while others opt for a “favourite” or call upon the services of a dealer (intermediary between the buyer and seller).
Horses that are “ready to run” can be purchased after a claiming race, in which all the horses are for sale. But an owner looking to the long term can visit the auctions to buy a foal (six months old) or a yearling. Then, he must wait patiently for two years before seeing his young charge in action. The element of uncertainty is all part of the dream and is even greater when a future competitor of unknown value is purchased. Who knows what the future holds… But one thing is for sure: being an owner means guaranteed adrenaline from the moment the stalls
open until the finish post is passed.
And of course, this unique leisure pursuit can also prove to be a lucrative investment commensurate with the great excitement it provides. What’s more, far from being an egotistical luxury, it is a hobby which supports a sector of the rural economy employing 63,000 people in France and involving a complete chain of professions stretching from the stud farms to the racetrack stalls by way of the numerous activities connected with breeding, training and the race environment itself.