Lottery silks to go on display

Colours worn by the winner of the inaugural running of the Grand National are going on display for the first time in the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket.

The scarlet silks worn by jockey Jem Mason on the aptly-named Lottery in 1839 have been restored after they were acquired at auction by the National Heritage Centre at Palace House in Newmarket.

A specialised textile conservator was employed to restore the colours before they were unveiled in the week that culminates in the 170th running of the world's most famous steeplechase.

The first official Grand National took place at Aintree racecourse on February 26, 1839.

It was won by Lottery, racing in the scarlet silks and black cap of John Elmore, who was a prominent racehorse owner at the time.

Chris Garibaldi, director at the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art, said: "These silks are a most significant addition to our collection which is now on display at the National Heritage Centre, opened by Her Majesty the Queen in November 2016.

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"We are also indebted to the Friends of the Museum for helping to fund the purchase. "

The unveiling will challenge a long-held belief that the silks worn by the winning jockey were blue in colour.

Timothy Cox, a respected historian on the thoroughbred, said: "We know from 'The Steeplechase Calendar', published by Henry Wright in 1845, and a racecard from 1832 in the museum's collection, that John Elmore's racing silks were scarlet when Lottery won the first Grand National.

"It is believed that Elmore changed the colour of his racing silks several years later to blue with a black cap and these new colours are listed in the 1849-50 edition of the Steeple Chase and Hurdle Race Epitome."

Restoration of the scarlet silk satin jockey jacket was a lengthy process due to its fragility but it still retains its original sheen and colour.

The work was undertaken by Jane Smith at the National Trust Textile Conservation Studio.

Lottery, whose name was changed from Chance after being purchased by Elmore for #120, was sent off the 5-1 favourite for the new race and duly obliged by three lengths from Seventy Four.

The first running is also remembered for Captain Becher being flung from his mount Conrad into the brook beyond the fence that now bears his name.

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