Dark Blue with Buff Sash and Sleeves

Deciding the colours your jockey will wear is an important part of being a racehorse owner. Here Fred is discussing which colours he should pick. Dark blue, purple and yellow are all put forward.

He eventually chose dark blue with a yellow sash and red cap. These once belonged to Henry Worthington Bell, who was a stock broker and the uncle of Fred’s wife, Phyllis.

Fred was incredibly proud of his racing colours.

In 1971 David Niven wrote of Fred Astaire, “He is also a racehorse aficionado who owned a winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup. Early one Sunday he called me. ‘I’ve done a terrible thing – I don’t know what possessed me, but at four o’clock this morning, I got out of bed and drove all over Beverly Hills, painting the city mail boxes with my racing colours.’”

The reproduction of Fred Astaire’s colours have been kindly donated to NHRM by Al Basti Equiworld. The silks are currently on display at the National Horseracing Museum.

Dark Blue with Buff Sash and Sleeves – Racing Silks

Sat. eve 1939

Dear Jack:-

Thanks for Charmant – it got me out nicely on the week. Spill off a few more like that – will you?

So sorry I could not get to Newmarket this week – you see I had a date to play golf with a most charming young lady and it was quite impossible to break it.

When does our horse run at Lingfield? Wish you would let me know whether or not I have to register the colors at Wetherby’s or not. I believe you have told me but I can’t remember for the moment. At any rate I don’t know how to work it so you’d better do it. Another thing – what bloody colors shall we have?

You’d better pick them too. I don’t like green of any sort so almost any- thing else you suggest will be alright with me. Supposing we try a fairly dark blue with buff sash and sleeves and dark blue cap? If this suits you go ahead and have it made up will you? I think the blue should be as I mentioned above, fairly dark – but bright. Get Felix to pass judgement. Drop me a line soon and also don’t forget those Newmarket wires.

Best to all,



PS Adele has just come out with the brilliant suggestion that buff as a racing color is lousy – and she suggests the following :-

A “wicked” purple blouse with yellow sash, sleeves and cap. Doesn’t sound so bad does it. Do you suppose that has been done yet? She wants a real vivid purple so try and dig it up. I think after all that this suggestion is better than mine.