I have long been a fan of PC Racewear jackets. I first bought one several years ago during my quest to find something which would cover my back adequately during the first of many long, cold, wet winters riding out for a National Hunt yard. The only thing worse than having to follow someone up the gallops who is exposing a wide band of bare skin between the top of their breeches and the bottom of their jacket is being the owner of said expanse of bare flesh – exposed to the elements and gradually turning blue over the course of riding several lots.
Thinking that someone must have come up with the solution to this problem, I was proved right when I bought one of the first PC Racewear jackets. It was smart, functional, kept the extremes of the weather off, and the dropped back hem kept my back warm and dry and my dignity intact. I wore it to ride out, I wore it to ride my own horses, I found it brilliant for picking feet out and doing studs (that warm back factor again), I wore it to the pub, I wore it to work. Eventually (after several years) I just plain wore it out.
I have recently become reacquainted with PC Racewear and their now expanded range. Don’t be put off by the jockey thing: it’s all good, hard-wearing weatherproof kit designed by riders, for riders. Let’s face it, anything designed for people riding 8 lots of racehorses in Irish weather has to be pretty effective and functional. If it’s good enough to be staff uniform for the likes of Willie Mullins’ and Jonjo O’Neill’s yards, not to mention the jacket of the Irish Pony Eventing squad, it’d probably good enough for me!
I was really excited to be testing the latest incarnation of the PC Jacket – the PC Elite. The original jacket is quite a light jacket – lined, but not particularly padded. Perfect for blustery autumn or spring days but definitely requiring a few more layers underneath for winter. PC Racewear have addressed this with the new Elite version.
The Elite has the addition of a fleece inner layer with its own zip which fits snugly round the neck. It has the regular dropped back hem (phew!) and the sleeves are also fleeced lined with a separate fleece cuff. This cuff also has a thumb slot so you can have the fleece right down over your wrists and hands even when riding – a great touch!
I have found this jacket brilliant so far this winter. I expect it to be as hard-wearing as the original as the outer construction is so similar, but the additional features mean that it is snug, warm and dry in all weathers.
The only minus point is that I occasionally find the two zips a bit of a faff – but if that’s the price you pay for warm and cosy, I can live with it. I could also do with a fastening on the outer cuff – maybe just a strap and popper like on the original jacket, but the inner fleece cuff fits snugly enough so you’re never in danger of cold wrists.
The PC Racewear original jacket is available in a variety of colours, and the PC Elite is available in navy in sizes XS – XXL and can be bought online from www.pcracewear.ie