Robin Oakley

Robin Oakley writes The Spectator's The turf column

The dark world of Victorian horse racing

12 October 2019 9:00 am

Two hours after showing her father, the Marquess of Anglesey, the wedding dress in which she was to marry the…

When nice guys come first

28 September 2019 9:00 am

With shorter days and leaves falling, I begin to itch for the more sporting, less obviously commercial world of jump…

My puppy-training advice for Boris Johnson

21 September 2019 9:00 am

President Harry Truman once observed: ‘If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.’ Boris Johnson, as Prime Minister…

Excessive gambling is dangerous – a flutter on the horses is not

14 September 2019 9:00 am

Sorry is allegedly the hardest word to say — so Carolyn Harris, chair of the all-party parliamentary group studying gambling-related…

All is not well in the murky world of bloodstock sales

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Carried away on a day at the races a successful businessman bid for and bought a horse from a seller.…

Time’s they are a-changing: Khadijah Mellah wins the Magnolia Cup at Goodwood on Haverland – the first Muslim woman to ride a competitive race in a hijab

Why do race-goers have to subsidise the post-sport entertainment?

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Before this year’s Shergar Cup meeting all I had seen of Australian flat jockey Mark Zahra was a memorably painful…

Frankie Dettori aboard Enable, the greatest filly ever

Saturday’s King George was the finest contest I have ever seen on a racecourse

3 August 2019 9:00 am

It is stupid to become attached to inanimate objects but when modern technology finally forced me to ditch the Olivetti…

One to watch: the 5lb claimer Theodore Ladd

20 July 2019 9:00 am

Newmarket’s wisest trainer, Sir Mark Prescott, once noted: ‘The greyhound is propelled through the pain barrier by its desire to…

Rising star Nicola Currie riding Raising Sand to victory at Ascot Credit: Alan Crowhurst / Stringer / Getty Images

Why female jockeys are a better bet

6 July 2019 9:00 am

When Hayley Turner was made, she wasn’t just given a competitive spirit, a sensitive pair of hands and excellent balance.…

In praise of geldings

22 June 2019 9:00 am

Boris Johnson, Remainers might like to be reminded, does sometimes change his mind under pressure. Some years ago, as editor…

Why the Derby is the ultimate test

8 June 2019 9:00 am

There is a danger that memories of the 2019 Epsom Derby will be swamped by statistics. By training his seventh…

In praise of older horses – and their trainers

25 May 2019 9:00 am

Newbury is as fair a test for a racehorse as you can get with its galloping track and a wide-open…

Farewell to the greatest jump jockey of all time

11 May 2019 9:00 am

So the Silver Fox has called it a day. We will never see Ruby Walsh, the man whom even Sir…

The genius of Henry Cecil

27 April 2019 9:00 am

There are people I know who regard racing as a cold-hearted business that exploits animals and achieves little besides putting…

The Grand National is one of the great days out

13 April 2019 9:00 am

If you’ve never been to a Grand National and are approaching an age when it is appropriate to list ten…

Will horse welfare become racing’s Brexit?

30 March 2019 9:00 am

As jockeys, trainers, punters and media folk gathered at Newbury on Saturday to say farewell to Noel Fehily, the ultimate…

Rich Ricci, former executive chairman of BetBright. Credit: Alan Crowhurst / Stringer

While some bookies behave admirably, the BetBright debacle is a disgrace

16 March 2019 9:00 am

Encountering a generous-hearted bookmaker is normally as rare an occurrence as finding a picture of the Duchess of Sussex without…

Trainer Neil Mulholland at Exeter Racecourse.Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

Why we need to support middle-ranking trainers

2 March 2019 9:00 am

Owner Phil Simmonds from Rochdale was 17 when he first went racing, joining a friend’s stag party at Haydock Park.…

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Did the BHA call it right on equine flu?

16 February 2019 9:00 am

The pre-war Fabians Sidney and Beatrice Webb apparently had a pre-marriage agreement. It wasn’t like today’s Hollywood prenups, designed to…

Bryony Frost riding Frodon to win the BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham Credit: Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

My miraculous winning streak

2 February 2019 9:00 am

Last Saturday morning, Mo Gawdat, former chief business officer at Google, was on the radio explaining his algorithm for happiness,…

Edwulf, the ‘miracle horse’ on his way to winning the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown, 2018

In defence of the Cheltenham Festival

19 January 2019 9:00 am

‘Deer-stalking would be a very fine sport,’ W.S. Gilbert once observed, ‘if the deer had guns too.’ We who love…

Richard Johnson riding Native River to victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Credit: Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Racing in 2018 gave us plenty to celebrate

5 January 2019 9:00 am

I don’t know who coined the old racing saying ‘The only person who remembers who came second is the guy…

Tom Scudamore riding Know The Score wins the Visit Our Shop 'Star Sports Mayfair' Standard Open NH Flat Race at Towcester racecourse, 14 February, 2018

‘Concussion doesn’t count’: memories of a racing dynasty

15 December 2018 9:00 am

The Scudamores are one of the bedrock families of jump racing. After being shot down and spending two years as…

How 250 cows may have changed the course of racing

8 December 2018 9:00 am

It may yet turn out that the most significant development in racing this year was the sale of some 250…

My hot tips for the coming season

24 November 2018 9:00 am

Trainer Dan Skelton and his jockey brother Harry have 100 winners on the board already but for most of us…