The turfrss

(Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty)

Sympathy for the bookies

19 April 2014

We all have to adjust to reality, like the lady who entered a Barbados bar having already enjoyed several gin and Dubonnets. On her shoulder was perched a rare parrot… Read more

Why the other jockeys love Jamie Moore

5 April 2014

In the parade ring just after Sire De Grugy had won this year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase, I found myself among a group of jockeys who had run out of… Read more

Davy Russell celebrates after riding Lord Windermere to victory Photo: Getty

Comebacks, longshots and cruel disappointments: what makes Cheltenham Festival great

22 March 2014

No sporting event anywhere compresses so much drama, emotion and character into a single venue as the Cheltenham Festival. It wasn’t just an extraordinary Gold Cup — in that six… Read more

Paul Bittar, Chief Executive of British Horseracing Authority Photo: Getty

How Paul Bittar has kept British racing together

8 March 2014

British racing is such a quirky minefield that some were surprised when in 2011 the authorities chose Paul Bittar, a man from Wagga Wagga with most of his racecourse experience… Read more


The Grand National needs kinder weather

22 February 2014

This year you don’t want to be a jockey’s valet. Never have their washing machines spun so vigorously. From every sortie, riders return as mud-spattered as if they had been… Read more

Aidan Coleman riding Venetia Williams' Saroque at Sandown Photo: Getty

Women simply don't understand sport's importance

8 February 2014

Liverpool manager Bill Shankly was once challenged with the story that for their wedding anniversary treat he had taken his wife to a Rochdale match. ‘Sheer nonsense,’ he replied. ‘It… Read more

When lawyers take to racehorses

25 January 2014

Can you be both restless and content? Standing last week with Graeme McPherson on the viewing platform over his sharply rising gallops near Stow-on-the-Wold, I found a man who answers… Read more

How jockeys play dirty

11 January 2014

At Christmas a friend from CNN sent me the story of a US officer on a European train. Searching for a seat, he found one occupied by a miniature poodle… Read more

Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/PA Images

Why does Newbury alienate potential racegoers?

14 December 2013

You don’t realise how much your pleasures mean until you are denied them. It was wonderful to get back on a racecourse for Hennessy Day at Newbury even if my… Read more

The dark side of horse racing

Christmas racing reading

7 December 2013

In one of those old Mae West films a girl admires her friend’s jewellery: ‘Goodness, what lovely pearls,’ only to meet the reply, ‘Goodness, my dear, had nothing to do… Read more

Tony McCoy riding Kid Cassidy Photo: Getty

Racing: Here are the 'Twelve to Follow' for winter

23 November 2013

Women truly are different. Recovering in a spare bedroom from the wonders of a hip replacement (don’t ever jump on industrial-sized wheelie bins to compress the contents), I passed Mrs… Read more

How the slowest horse won — and caused the biggest upset in Grand National history

9 November 2013

On a grey October morning, along a Berkshire lane leading up to the Ridgeway amid fields stuffed with pheasant, 30 of us joined a mini-pilgrimage. The former champion jockeys Graham… Read more

The yearling sale at Tattersalls (Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty)

The Qataris are influencing every aspect of racing

26 October 2013

Not having the odd £100,000 to spare, I had never before joined the world’s richest owners and their bloodstock agents at Tattersalls yearling sales. It was my loss. Sheikhs in… Read more

Newmarket Races

The turf: bad-mane day for Tropics

12 October 2013

At the degenerative stage of a dinner party recently I heard related with perfect timing the tale of the gent who saw a sign in the window of his local… Read more

Trainers and prospective buyers Ken Ivory, left, and son Dea

Dean Ivory — from mechanic and welder to enthusiastic and successful trainer

28 September 2013

Trainers used to come into racing with Aunt Agatha’s legacy after a short service commission, having probably worn a trilby in their playpens. These days some come by different routes.… Read more

Dane O'Neill riding Cape Peron (R) win The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Maiden Stakes at Newbury racecourse Photo: Getty

Robin Oakley: Henry Candy's brilliant bargains

14 September 2013

Cape Peron was my easiest choice for our Twelve to Follow. When Henry Candy smiles his gentle smile, as he did after Cape Peron won the Park Hill Hospital Handicap… Read more

Royal Ascot - Day One

Most of the racing crowd were saddened that Godolphin was dragged through the mire

31 August 2013

Driving to Newmarket through a biblical-style deluge that had sheep, cattle and horses queuing in twos in case Noah had to get busy, I feared for my day’s sport last… Read more

Ascot Races - An Alternative View

Age triumphs at Ascot

17 August 2013

As part of the after-dinner entertainment on a cruise ship recently, I encountered a couple of comedians. One claimed he had recently shared a booking with a topless ventriloquist. I… Read more

Sheikh Fahad al Thani, head of Qatar Racing celebrates during day one of Royal Ascot Photo: Getty

Qataris invest heavily in British bloodstock

3 August 2013

A fresh new breeze is wafting through British racing. Led by the enthusiastic Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, the Qatar ruling family is investing heavily in buying British bloodstock and, through… Read more

Adam Kirby riding Lethal Force Photo: Getty

It helps to have a sense of humour when handling horses

20 July 2013

Clive Cox, once a conditional jockey in Lambourn, fell at the first fence one year in the Grand National. ‘Mind you,’ he told the owners, ‘we were going well at… Read more

Royal Ascot 2013 - Day 3

Royal Ascot triumph: Johnny Murtagh is the best trainer riding

6 July 2013

Ginger Rogers, clever girl, did everything that Fred Astaire did — but she did it backwards. I am looking backwards in this Turf column and doing so without apologies because… Read more

Royal Ascot - Day 1

Royal Ascot is not the same without Henry Cecil

22 June 2013

For a moment it seemed incongruous reading obituaries in the same week of Sir Henry Cecil and of Esther Williams, the Hollywood star whom most of us only ever remember… Read more

Ryan Moore riding Ruler Of The World win The Investec Derby Photo: Getty

The turf: The real scandal of Emily Davison’s Derby

8 June 2013

After Ruler Of The World had won the 234th Derby, the owners, the Coolmore team, were asked if it hadn’t been something of a hostage to fortune giving the horse… Read more

Twelve tips for the Flat season

25 May 2013

I have a weakness for the versifier Ogden Nash and one of my favourites is his observation: Shake and shake the ketchup bottle First none will come and then a… Read more

Goddwood Races

Godolphin drug affair

11 May 2013

Working partnerships don’t always bring the results expected. I heard lately of a 12-year-old girl encouraged to spend a day on work experience with a relative in the building trade.… Read more