William Pike is parlaying his fame as a jockey into the sports merchandise industry, but as the world celebrates National Mascot Day, does Australia’s champion hoop know France Galop’s jockey mascot shares his first name?

Willy the jockey and Sam the horse are France Galop’s kid-friendly mascots, and their stuffed toys are available to buy from the gift shop of French thoroughbred racing’s governing body. William is a common name of star riders – in addition to Pike, the list includes the likes of William Buick, Willie Carson and Bill Shoemaker – so it is unclear as to which of them inspired France Galop’s marketing team.

Thoroughbred racing mascots are commonplace throughout Asia, the most famous of them being the Japan Racing Association’s Turfy, which has its own website aimed at educating children about the sport. Is it time for Australian thoroughbred racing to follow Japan’s lead and create its own mascot?

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