Robin Oakley

Robin Oakley writes The Spectator's The turf column

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…

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…

Paddy Brennan riding Cue Card (R) clear the last to beat Vatour and Ruby Walsh (Photo: Getty)

Why the north needs Red Rum

9 January 2016 9:00 am

The well-bred Sea Pigeon, who had finished seventh in the Derby when trained at Beckhampton by Jeremy Tree, was later…


The glories of the Galapagos

2 January 2016 9:00 am

Robin Oakley on what to see in the Galapagos – if you can


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…

Hayley Turner (Photo: Getty)

It's scary what it takes to be (and stay) a jockey

19 September 2015 9:00 am

It’s a tough old business, this racing. Hayley Turner is the best woman rider we’ve ever seen in this country.…


Mrs Oakley has finally seen the light about racing

5 September 2015 9:00 am

Heaven be praised for the sinner who repenteth, however long it takes. For President George Bush Senior, his occasional meetings…

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…

Peter O'sullievan

It was a send-off to remember for the Voice of racing, Peter O’Sullevan

8 August 2015 9:00 am

Reviewing a biography of Arkle, Peter O’Sullevan wrote, ‘He had an obit to die for.’ So did The Voice himself.…

Trainer Clive Cox (Photo: Getty)

The man who takes the stress out of training horses

25 July 2015 9:00 am

For all their formidable physical presence, racehorses spook easily. A sudden gust of wind flapping a plastic sack, a page…


The Eclipse Stakes at Sandown: a pulsating contest between two brave horses and two thinking jockeys

11 July 2015 9:00 am

Eclipse was one of the most remarkable racehorses ever. Sired by the then undistinguished Marske, whom mares could visit for…

Queen Elizabeth and Roger Charlton arrive at Royal Ascot (Photo: Getty)

Ryan Moore is the new Lester Piggott

27 June 2015 9:00 am

Nothing pleases the Royal Ascot crowd more than a winner for the meeting’s crucial supporter, the Queen. Imagine, then, the…