Robin Oakley

Robin Oakley writes The Spectator's The turf column

The heirs to Frankie Dettori

19 September 2020 9:00 am

It is all, it seems, in the tweaks. So said Aidan O’Brien, Ireland’s master-trainer supreme, before his tough filly Magical…

Racing can’t survive without crowds

5 September 2020 9:00 am

We all have weeks when every win bet finishes second and every each-way comes home in fourth. You begin to…

Why it pays for a jockey to follow the rules

22 August 2020 9:00 am

Lester Piggott was famous for pinching other jockeys’ rides. He used his friendship with owner Ivan Allan to have Luca…

In a jam: what Goodwood did with 900 punnets of strawberries

8 August 2020 9:00 am

It was to have been, if not a glorious return, at least an encouraging one. On the Stewards’ Cup day…

Why racing will miss Barry Geraghty

25 July 2020 9:00 am

When I first began racing, few jump jockeys reckoned their careers would last beyond the ages of 32 or 33.…

Aidan O’Brien’s Derby victory was an act of grand larceny

11 July 2020 9:00 am

It wasn’t so much a Derby victory this year as an act of grand larceny. Aidan O’Brien isn’t just a…

Royal Ascot was a triumph – even without the cheers and the hats

27 June 2020 9:00 am

Royal Ascot it wasn’t: for the first time in her 68-year reign, thanks to Covid-19, the Queen was not there.…

Horse-racing has made a triumphant return

13 June 2020 9:00 am

Horse racing, it turns out, wasn’t the first sport back in post-lockdown action: that distinction went to pigeon racing when…

Racing needs us as much as we need it

30 May 2020 9:00 am

Horseracing in Britain, which was suspended by coronavirus on 18 March, is due, as I write, to resume on Monday…

How to get your racing fix under lockdown

16 May 2020 9:00 am

There is racing elsewhere in the world. It restarted in France on Monday, la course de chevaux being classed in…

What the Queen will miss most in self-isolation

2 May 2020 9:00 am

Seven hundred pages of memoir is stretching it a bit even for an ex-inhabitant of No. 10 with David Cameron’s…

A first-hand account of a racehorse trainer’s battle for survival

18 April 2020 9:00 am

Sport may well be ‘the great triviality’ as Timeform founder Phil Bull once put it, and racing as trivial as…

Does horse-racing have a future?

4 April 2020 9:00 am

Asked, after his Imperial Aura’s impressive win in the Northern Trust Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, if he…

Cheltenham Festival was a triumph

21 March 2020 9:00 am

The socialite MP Chips Channon once noted in his diaries his feelings about an after-lunch snooze in parliament’s Library: ‘It…

The magic of Cheltenham Festival

7 March 2020 9:00 am

Every time the Cheltenham Festival looms, I recall a remarkable experience. It was already 25 years since Dawn Run’s recovery…

Cyrname was lucky to survive his shocking fall at Ascot

21 February 2020 10:00 pm

Few jumpers have a better record at Ascot than the Paul Nicholls-trained Cyrname. He triumphed in the Betfair Chase at…

The saviours of racing

7 February 2020 10:00 pm

I was once at a racing dinner in York where a distinguished clergyman in attendance was invited to say grace.…

The trainer who gives the big boys a run for their money

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

Racing’s New Year began well with the award of OBEs to both Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls, showing that they…

The battle for the future of Flat racing

11 January 2020 9:00 am

The master plan in acquiring our flatcoat retriever puppy Damson was that as folk no longer with full-time jobs we…

Farewell to Australia’s greatest horse

21 December 2019 9:00 am

Storm clouds may be rumbling over racing’s future financing in terms of gambling legislation but 2019 offered no shortage of…

The election won’t bring any joy to the racing community – whatever the outcome

7 December 2019 9:00 am

Whatever the outcome of the election on 12 December, it is unlikely to bring joy to the racing community. Conservatives…

Cheltenham was the perfect antidote to election politics

23 November 2019 9:00 am

I can only be sorry for the 67,496,581 citizens of the UK who were not at Cheltenham last Saturday. For…

The best thing about autumn is the return of jumping

9 November 2019 9:00 am

Never mind Keats’s mists and mellow fruitfulness, or even that glorious autumnal odour of wet dog — a regular accompaniment…

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…