The royal blue Godolphin colours are familiar all over the world and in the 20 years since they were registered with the British Horseracing Authority they have had huge success many different countries. At the moment, Dawn Approach, trained by Jim Bolger, is at the forefront of Godolphin thoughts, and it’s the fact that he is trained in Ireland that could have led him to have to run in different colours if he were to race there.
That’s because identical coloured silks were registered with the Irish authorities some 150 years ago, as “lifetime” colours by the Cooper family. Until last week, they were unused for many years, as Patrick, son of the late Tom Cooper, the founder of bloodstock agency BBA Ireland explained. “My brother Alan says they were first registered in 1863. The last time I remember seeing them was on Long Arrow. Trained by Ted Walsh’s father Ruby, when he won a handicap chase at Roscommon. I’m not sure how long ago that was, but I’m going to say 35 years.”
The revival of the colours proved successful last week, again at Roscommon, as the rather unlikely named Protestant just put his nose in front on the line in a ten-furlong maiden race.
The Coopers have the royal blue colours registered in Ireland, which means other owners cannot run horses trained there in the same kit. Dawn Approach is the only Godolphin horse trained in Ireland, (he was in Bolger's yard when Godolphin bought him) so he would be immediately affected. However, Horse Racing Ireland’s Director of Racing, Jason Morris, said, “The Cooper family have given permission for Dawn Approach to run in Ireland in the royal blue silks, and Godolphin will also be allowed to run their other horses here.”
Perhaps the Coopers hope that some of the Godolphin magic will transfer across to their horses. On the other hand, they may not need it, as BBA Ireland has a long history of either purchasing or managing top quality horses, including 1962 Derby winner Larkspur, and more recently, 2010 Oaks winner Snow Fairy.