Robin Oakley

Robin Oakley writes The Spectator's The turf column

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…

Luca Cumani, second from left, has announced his retirement from training

Why racing will miss Luca Cumani

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Fairy tales can happen. On Sunday the filly God Given won Italy’s only Group One race of the season, the…

DONCASTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07: Jockey George Baker riding Litigant leads the field to win the Betfred November Handicap Stakes on November 7, 2015 in Doncaster, England. (Photo by Daniel Smith/Getty Images)

The dirtiest racehorse names

27 October 2018 9:00 am

Watching whip-thin jockey George Baker, just short of six feet, greeting his mounts used to make me think of the…

A no-deal Brexit could cripple horse-racing

13 October 2018 9:00 am

Racing is full of risk-takers, not least those who fork out hefty sums to buy yearlings or unraced two-year-olds. Back…

The joy of a rainy Newbury

29 September 2018 9:00 am

Mill Reef, who won the Derby, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the Eclipse and the King George by far…

Mark Johnston with Poets Society

Always trying: Britain’s most successful – and argumentative – trainer

15 September 2018 9:00 am

An American trainer was once asked to name the greatest quality of the legendary jockey Willie Shoemaker. He replied: ‘The…

Why Goodwood is the toughest course for jockeys

1 September 2018 9:00 am

Having spent most of my life among politicians I guess I have become unaccustomed to candour. The only example I…

Racing for the app generation

18 August 2018 9:00 am

Making racing profitable depends on getting information at the right time. In the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood two Saturdays ago…

Lofty ambition: The High Line public park

The perfect way to spend two days in New York

4 August 2018 9:00 am

In Britain I never drink cocktails, but on arrival in New York it has become a ritual that my first…

The man who rode 2,300 winners

4 August 2018 9:00 am

On a foggy November day in 1965 the young son of a Barbadian police chief was one of six contestants…

The man who rode 2,300 winners

21 July 2018 9:00 am

For Coleridge, ‘…the light which experience gives is a lantern on the stern, which shines only on the waves behind…