Robin Oakley

Robin Oakley writes The Spectator's The turf column

Thistlecrack at Cheltenham (Photo: Getty)

Hot tips for next month’s Cheltenham Festival

6 February 2016 9:00 am

Racing Life is all about judgment and I got one thing right at Cheltenham last Saturday after the overnight rain.…

Warwick Races (Photo: Getty)

The small wonders of horse racing

23 January 2016 9:00 am

Cheltenham, Ascot and Sandown Park are wonderful but without the little tracks racing would be lost. It was perishing cold…


Wear The Fox Hat looks innocent enough but try saying it in an Irish accent

12 December 2015 9:00 am

President Lyndon B. Johnson’s image never quite recovered in many people’s view from the photograph of him picking up his…

Essential racing books for Christmas

28 November 2015 9:00 am

Do horses have souls or a ‘spirit’? When form expert Marten Julian was looking to buy a horse, he asked…

Top of the twelve: Goldream ridden by Martin Harley (Photo: Getty)

This year’s Twelve to Follow netted a £328 profit

14 November 2015 9:00 am

Three personalities dominated the Flat season: Gosden, Dettori and Golden Horn. Victories for the trio in the Derby, the Irish…

Mark Walsh riding Shantou Flyer clears the last jump to win (Photo: Getty)

The joys of jump racing

29 October 2015 9:00 am

Thank God for jump racing. The Flat has its glitz and speed and glamour, and we could not help but…

Adam Beschizza riding Grumeti wins at Newmarket (Photo: Getty)

Be warned: the mighty Air Force Blue blows away all before him

17 October 2015 9:00 am

I was both delighted and unsurprised that Denis Healey made it to 98. One day in the 1970s I took…

Jockey Colm O'Donoghue

The rewards for breaking rules of horse-racing have to stop

3 October 2015 9:00 am

One of Alan Bennett’s characters once lamented, ‘We tried to set up a small anarchist community …but people wouldn’t obey…

You don’t need a nose-tapping tipster to maximise your winnings

22 August 2015 9:00 am

Master golfer Gary Player had the perfect retort when a 19th-hole pundit on his fourth G&T declared, ‘It’s all down…

Frankie Dettori: Britain’s favourite Italian is back

13 June 2015 9:00 am

Nothing has been lost since William Powell Frith painted his Derby Day panorama in 1858: today, instead of the carriages…


Farewell to the iron man, Tony McCoy

2 May 2015 9:00 am

At Sandown Park last Saturday an era ended. Twenty thousand of us turned up to cheer on Tony McCoy as…

The winners enclosure at Ascot racecourse. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Who will fund a prize for the true fighter pilots of the Turf?

4 April 2015 9:00 am

After listening to a violinist’s justification of his playing, Dr Samuel Johnson responded tartly: ‘Difficult do you call it, Sir?…

Ascot Races

Racing’s biggest issue is the decline in field sizes

7 March 2015 9:00 am

‘I don’t want to seem unromantic,’ said Mrs Oakley as St Valentine’s Day approached, ‘but this year please don’t buy…

The book's 'author', The Tetrarch. Image: PA

This autobiography written by a horse that is not as offputting as it sounds

7 February 2015 9:00 am

Banks only lend money to those who can prove they don’t need it and it has not been a happy…

Ascot Races

The Grand National doesn’t need Jeremy Kyle

24 January 2015 9:00 am

Never mind David Cameron. Are you participating in the Great Debate about an event of national significance that stirs the…

Chepstow Races

Venetia Williams: an enigmatic woman who trains winners

10 January 2015 9:00 am

Welsh Grand National day at Chepstow could not have had a better climax than the big race. After slogging three…

Chepstow Races

Maybe Mrs Oakley is right: all my tips will come in second

1 November 2014 9:00 am

The novelist Anita Brookner once declared that in real life hares always beat tortoises: ‘Every time. Look around you. And…

Louis Steward riding Bronze Angel win The Betfred Cambridgeshire

These are the ones to watch in the Prix de l’Abbaye and the Derby

4 October 2014 9:00 am

Rightly, the authorities are doing all they can to find and discipline the disgruntled racegoer who threw a beer can…

Ascot Races - An Alternative View

Some horses go better for a woman

23 August 2014 9:00 am

Mrs Oakley returned from her latest book club with an uplifting story. The Mother Superior of an Irish convent was…

James Doyle riding Kingman at Goodwood Photo: Getty

Goodwood is Ascot without the vulgarity, Aintree without the spray tans

9 August 2014 9:00 am

If I get to choose where to spend my last day on earth it will probably be at Glorious Goodwood.…


A day with the West Ilsley trainer Denis Coakley

26 July 2014 9:00 am

Through a stormy July weekend our task was to prevent four feisty grandchildren from murdering or mutilating each other before…

Richard Hughes riding Talent greets trainer Ralph Beckett after winning The Investec Oaks at Epsom Photo: Getty

Ralph Beckett's winning way with the fillies

12 July 2014 9:00 am

Fretful horses who waste their energies — and often their racing potential — ceaselessly pacing their stable dormitories are known…

Royal Ascot 2014 - Day Five

Yes, I'm biased – but this was a great Royal Ascot

28 June 2014 9:00 am

The one sight I was determined not to miss at Royal Ascot was that of the Queen from over the…

Andrea Atzeni riding Connecticut (2R) wins The Betfred £10 Million Scoop6

Will racing waste its Scoop6 jackpot?

31 May 2014 9:00 am

Eight people became millionaires last Saturday, collecting £1,342,599 each when the Scoop6 bet, which had been rolled over for 12…

How jockeys play dirty

11 January 2014 9:00 am

At Christmas a friend from CNN sent me the story of a US officer on a European train. Searching for…