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TheTurf

The turfrss

Ascot Races - An Alternative View

Some horses go better for a woman

23 August 2014

Mrs Oakley returned from her latest book club with an uplifting story. The Mother Superior of an Irish convent was 95 and failing. On her deathbed she asked for a… Read more

James Doyle riding Kingman at Goodwood Photo: Getty

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

9 August 2014

If I get to choose where to spend my last day on earth it will probably be at Glorious Goodwood. Goodwood is Ascot without the added vulgarity, Aintree without the… Read more

(Photo: www.deniscoakley.com)

A day with the West Ilsley trainer Denis Coakley

26 July 2014

Through a stormy July weekend our task was to prevent four feisty grandchildren from murdering or mutilating each other before being returned to their parents, so we gave them £3… Read more

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

Fretful horses who waste their energies — and often their racing potential — ceaselessly pacing their stable dormitories are known as ‘box walkers’. Some trainers merit a similar description, dragging… Read more

Royal Ascot 2014 - Day Five

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

28 June 2014

The one sight I was determined not to miss at Royal Ascot was that of the Queen from over the water coming to claim the hearts of English racegoers. The… Read more

Paul Hanagan riding Taghrooda win The Investec Oaks at Epsom Photo: Getty

Cambridge, meet your first professor of racing lore

14 June 2014

Watching the contestants parade at Epsom for this year’s Oaks, I remembered the great D. Wayne Lukas’s pronouncement on selecting fillies: ‘She should have a head like a princess, a… Read more

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

Will racing waste its Scoop6 jackpot?

31 May 2014

Eight people became millionaires last Saturday, collecting £1,342,599 each when the Scoop6 bet, which had been rolled over for 12 weeks without a winner, was finally won. With racing’s narrative… Read more

William Buick wins at Doncaster or Justineo, one of our 12 to watch. Image: Getty

My 12 tips for the racing year

17 May 2014

In sport, winning is everything. Come second and only your parents and the dog remember. Most readers will have forgotten that a month ago I reported that champion jockey Richard… Read more

Tony McCoy riding Dispour

Own up, Twelve to Follow fans – which of you sabotaged my BMW?

3 May 2014

Mrs Oakley takes a dim view of my using the BMW that consumed much of her savings to ferry sacks of garden refuse and discarded paint tins to the council… Read more

(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

RACING-ENG-NATIONAL

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