Horse Racing is a game of inches, wherein slight margins can mean the difference between glory and defeat, going down in history or just, well, going down.
Put your arm out the window of a car traveling at 35 mph (56 kph) and feel the force of wind resistance. Now just imagine your entire body perched on the back of a horse traveling at a similar speed.
Aerodynamic drag (“wind resistance”) is not imaginary, it is real.
Yet the richest handicap race in the world, the Melbourne Cup remains a hi-tech free zone. Tradition dies hard in good old horse racing in Australia.
Take the contest of 2017. It was to the end an epic 3200m battle between two jockeys both hindered by silks that alternated between ballooning and flapping, each and every turbulent wind induced agitation dragging the jockeys, and therefore the horses, backwards.
It maddens and frustrates me to think that if either horse was aided by a jockey outfitted in form-fitting, state-of-the-art Speed Silks® then the outcome and/or margin would have been in an undoubtable way, different.
Aerodynamic drag has a much, much greater effect on the speed of the horse than a lot of people realize. The horse must work much, much harder to overcome wind resistance than it does to overcome the inertia of its own mass.
Any advantage can be a big one in a sport in which races are often decided by millimetres and hundredths of a second.
Speed Silks were designed from the ground up with one thing in mind: reducing your aerodynamic drag while you’re on horseback. Every square inch of fabric is Aero Dimplex®, a patented fabric that’s textured (dimpled) to reduce aerodynamic drag (wind resistance). They’re form-fitting to further cut form drag. They’re extremely lightweight, and were designed with as few seams as possible to further reduce weight and drag.
Aero Dimplex is a low-resistance material that was designed using wind-tunnel testing. Aero Dimplex actively generates a turbulent airflow from the small dimples. The turbulence reduces friction.
Speed Silks are the only silks in the world made from a custom-built Sports Competition textile.
A lot of customers ask, “Do they work?” The question behind the question is probably, “Do they make my horse go faster?” Speed Silks don’t make the horse go faster, any more than aerodynamic uniforms make speed skaters skate faster…what they do is reduce the amount of energy your horse has to expend in order to achieve and maintain speed.
In that respect, the correct answer to, “Do they work,” is: Yes, unless your horse can violate the laws of physics, they work.
But you’re still probably wondering how well they work, specifically, how much faster your horse can run if his jockey is wearing Speed Silks.
We can’t answer that question yet, because we haven’t gone so far as to wind tunnel test a racehorse, but we can tell you what the manufacturer of our Aero Dimplex fabric has to say: “Aero Dimplex is the most aerodynamically efficient fabric in the world between 14 and 47 miles per hour (22 kph and 75 kph)”, which is why we chose it for Speed Silks: because nothing else works better. And Darby Racing Technology is the only company in the world that make jockey silks out of it.
Historically, regular silks have been made from low-cost fabrics readily tailored for any purpose other than sport – an almost comical, crass fashion for clown, circus, carnival, dance, party, fancy dress, faux superhero and, lest we forget, jockey costumes. These materials have always appealed to colours makers because they are cheap, light, shiny and bright.
Now you can choose Speed Silks, made entirely from Aero Dimplex, a patented purpose-built competition sport textile, and therefore Speed Silks are the only purpose-built competition sport attire exclusive to Thoroughbred Horse Racing worldwide.