Robin Oakley

Robin Oakley writes The Spectator's The turf column

Tom Scudamore riding Thistlecrack celebrates half way up the run-in (Photo: Getty)

All hail jump racing’s heir to Desert Orchid

7 January 2017 9:00 am

The biggest oohs and aahs on the entertainment scene this winter were nothing to do with the ‘He’s behind you…

Mick Channon (Photo: Getty)

My racing books of the year

10 December 2016 9:00 am

It is a long time since I spent a morning on the gallops with the footballer-turned-racehorse trainer Mick Channon (he…

Ben Pauling (Photo: Getty)

Seven trainers to watch

26 November 2016 9:00 am

Talking to Paul Nicholls earlier this season, I was shaken to hear the ultra-competitive champion trainer say that he wouldn’t…

(Photo: Getty)

The puritan in Theresa May will kill horse-racing

12 November 2016 9:00 am

When Theresa May came to power the Turf community was full of hope. Had she not been, if only briefly…

Depression torments riders at every level

29 October 2016 9:00 am

‘He’s such a good competitor. He works so hard and he deserves it,’ said his predecessor Lewis Hamilton after Nico…


Trainer Aidan O’Brien – the genius of Ballydoyle

15 October 2016 9:00 am

The only downside about going racing is irritation born of encountering pig ignorant people who talk through their pockets. Beside…

Joe Fanning riding The Last Lion wins The Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes (Photo: Getty)

The Last Lion is one of next season’s stars-in-waiting

1 October 2016 9:00 am

There are few more compulsive reads in racing than the Kingsley Klarion, the in-house journal of Mark Johnston’s Middleham racing…

A book every racing-lover should own

17 September 2016 9:00 am

Say what you like about the St Leger — and I like it a lot — Doncaster’s finale to the…


The Annabel’s of bookmaking

3 September 2016 9:00 am

Bookmaking’s image has changed. Alongside the arrival of the betting exchanges, the evolution of the big names like Hills, Coral,…

Rab Havlin riding Khor Al Udaid (Photo: Getty)

Thank the Lord for supersubs – especially ones who win horse races

20 August 2016 9:00 am

After 30 years in racing it is a little late in Rab Havlin’s career to suggest that he will suddenly…

Glorious Goodwood (Photo: Getty)

Why horses win at Goodwood

6 August 2016 9:00 am

Sometimes the labels people give themselves are more than mere braggadocio. Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali if you must) really was…

Racing Certainty

What Brexit means for horse-racing

23 July 2016 9:00 am

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Theresa May’s arrival at No. 10 is that it has given us back a…

Hawkbill ridden by William Buick leads the field (Photo: Getty)

The Nigel Farage response to officials at continental racecourses is not recommended

9 July 2016 9:00 am

I love Eclipse Day at Sandown, the first occasion in the year when the classy three-year-olds start taking on their…

Racing Bookie collecting money on bets for horses

The Racing Levy stinks. So why can't we replace it?

25 June 2016 8:00 am

Forced to depart Ascot earlier than usual to fulfil a cruise lecture booking on the fjords, I hadn’t reckoned with…

Not quite Dubai yet: Ascot racegoers last year

Betting on Royal Ascot? Here’s how to get an edge

11 June 2016 9:00 am

It’s time to scuttle under a rock if you are a Folkestone or Cornish crab: 7,000 of them will be…

George Stubbs’s painting of Eclipse, the outstanding English 18th-century thoroughbred

How racing finally became respectable

11 June 2016 9:00 am

Queen Victoria disapproved heartily of the racing set and of her son Bertie’s involvement in the sport. But she must…

Goodwood Races

Are women strong enough to win a horse race?

11 June 2016 9:00 am

How much strength do you need to win a horse race? Do women have enough? And if they don’t should…

The art of picking winners on the Flat

28 May 2016 9:00 am

‘After a few decades of marriage a man ought to be able to recognise his own wife,’ Mrs Oakley observed…


How to make a mint at the races this summer

14 May 2016 9:00 am

It has been a little like scraping from the plate as slowly as possible the last traces of Mrs Oakley’s…

Praying at the races (Photo: Getty)

The difference between praying in church and praying at a racecourse

30 April 2016 9:00 am

The difference between praying in church and praying at the racecourse, a gnarled old punter once said, is that at…

Many Clouds ridden by Leighton Aspell (1), eventual winner Rule The World ridden by David Mullins (blue hat) and Double Ross ridden by Ryan Hatch (Photo: Getty)

The Grand National a predictable affair? Not a bit of it

16 April 2016 9:00 am

With great victories in Flat racing you witness hats-in-the-air exultation. You see the pride of trainers who nurtured the winner…

Victoria Pendleton (red cap) riding Pacha Du Polder at Cheltenham (Photo: Getty)

I managed to miss out on the glory of Cheltenham - financially anyway

2 April 2016 9:00 am

Everybody has their glory memory from Cheltenham this year. Some celebrate the extraordinary seven victories for the quietly confident Willie…

Cheltenham Festival - Ladies Day

Jump-racing bids farewell to the great John Ferguson

19 March 2016 9:00 am

Writing a Turf column before the Cheltenham Festival, as the Spectator schedule requires, which you are reading only after the…

Richard Johnson riding Cheat the Cheater (Photo: Getty

The second-best jump jockey ever finally gets to finish first

5 March 2016 9:00 am

Richard Johnson, possibly the nicest man to occupy a saddle and certainly the most modest, once said of his Irish…

Trainer Alan King (Photo: Getty)

Inside the mind of a racehorse trainer

20 February 2016 9:00 am

There are now two Kings of the Marlborough Downs. Leading jumps trainer Alan King has long trained top horses at…