Fruit machine inspired silks to be seen on track next month

  • Forget stripes, hoops or chevrons — jockeys will be sporting racing silks with a modern new look next month at Ascot, thanks to a design competition run by Racing For Change. 

    Instead of the traditional designs, which have remained unchanged since they were first introduced to racecourses in 1762, the new-look silks feature designs inspired by fruit machines, with patterns such as fruit symbols and horseshoes.

    The competition was open to students of Central Saint Martins College, and hitting the jackpot was Henry Griffin, who created the winning designs. His inspiration came from visiting bookmakers shops with his Dad when he was growing up.

    “I was about 14 and I wasn’t allowed in the betting shop but I always remember looking through the door — there would be racing on the TV and a fruit machine in the corner,” said Henry, 21, from Laughton in Essex.

    Henry’s eye-catching designs will be made into shirts and caps to be worn by jockeys in the first race at Ascot on 9 July.

    “The colours have to be vibrant and easily identifiable by the crowd, so I made the fruits and symbols on the silks as bold as possible,” said Henry.

    “I took a lot of time designing the caps, because they are very important in seeing the jockeys from a long way away.”

    Rod Street from Racing For Change — an initiative to broaden the appeal of horseracing — was impressed by the standard of the entrants.

    “Henry’s designs caught our eye from the outset, not to say that this was by any means an easy competition to judge. Each of the designs presented by the students have been outstanding in their own unique way,” he said.

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