UPCOMING RACEDAY MATCHEM STAKES DAY, Saturday 28 September

The stories behind owner’s colours: Shannon Stokes

They say that watching the horse you own and leading a horse into the winner’s enclosure is an adrenaline rush that you can’t buy over the counter. That feeling isn’t much different whether it’s in an Open Maiden where the winner is unlikely to go on and win multiple races, or if you have a progressive winner going through the divisions.

However, when the jockey aboard that winner is carrying your own silks, chosen and designed by you, it’s like a straight adrenaline shot into the veins. That rush is always unique, impossible to describe to those who haven’t experienced it.

Today’s owners are getting more creative with their colours as more and more young blood comes into the sport as the opportunities open. Often, it used to be a case of “painting by numbers”, filling in a template provided by the racing authorities and then waiting to hear if the design has been taken.

Things have changed, for the better. Which brings us to 21-year-old Shannon Stokes.

It is almost exactly year to the day (12th July 2023) she led in her first winner in her own colours.

Wearing her colours was triumphant jockey Aldo Domeyer, who had guided the gelding to his fifth win in 31 starts.
“My mom and dad and myself had bought a share in Benjamin and that’s when the opportunity came for him to race in my colours. That moment remains the highlight of my life in racing,” she said of leading in Benjamin for the Candice Bass-Robinson stable.

Stokes, then 20, made history in the process. She became the youngest registered owner to win for Bass Racing, with them being her silks being the cherry on the top.
So, what are those colours? We’ll let the Varsity College law student take up the story. “Even though I’m studying law – I have my BCom and now doing my LLB – I love fashion. And I love horses, which makes it a natural fit.

“My colours are light salmon pink, which is one of my favourite colours. There are so many shades of pink, but light salmon stand out. Then, if an off-white, there is a ring with five stars on the middle of the chest. That ring represents the circle of life and the five stars represent family and friends. My parents have always encouraged me to keep a small circle of family of friends, people you can trust through life.”

Benjamin has since retired, with Stokes taking ownership of him and giving him the life he deserves. “I have three or four other horses in my name as an owner, but there’ll only be one Benji.”

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Vaughan Marshall

Vaughan Marshall saw it coming from a long way out. What he envisaged then, the racing community is seeing now.

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