TheTurf

The turfrss

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

22 August 2015

Master golfer Gary Player had the perfect retort when a 19th-hole pundit on his fourth G&T declared, ‘It’s all down to luck really.’ ‘Of course,’ replied Player. ‘But it’s strange:… Read more

Peter O'sullievan

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

8 August 2015

Reviewing a biography of Arkle, Peter O’Sullevan wrote, ‘He had an obit to die for.’ So did The Voice himself. It could have been a sad Goodwood with the death… Read more

Trainer Clive Cox (Photo: Getty)

The man who takes the stress out of training horses

25 July 2015

For all their formidable physical presence, racehorses spook easily. A sudden gust of wind flapping a plastic sack, a page from yesterday’s Racing Post blowing across the stable yard can… Read more

Eclipse

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

11 July 2015

Eclipse was one of the most remarkable racehorses ever. Sired by the then undistinguished Marske, whom mares could visit for a mere half-guinea,and born in Windsor Great Park on the… Read more

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

Ryan Moore is the new Lester Piggott

27 June 2015

Nothing pleases the Royal Ascot crowd more than a winner for the meeting’s crucial supporter, the Queen. Imagine, then, the dilemma of one of her Windsor Castle lunch guests, trainer… Read more

Frankie Dettori: Britain’s favourite Italian is back

13 June 2015

Nothing has been lost since William Powell Frith painted his Derby Day panorama in 1858: today, instead of the carriages and corseted courtesans, the acrobats and pickpockets, he could cram… Read more

Glorious Goodwood (Photo: Getty)

Why jockeys prefer riding on the Flat

30 May 2015

Getting to Goodwood last Saturday was an achievement in itself. On the Bank Holiday weekend I calculated a cross-country route from Oxfordshire to avoid the traffic. All went well until… Read more

Cole Harden ridden by Gavin Sheehan (Photo: Getty)

My Twelve to Follow are seven up

16 May 2015

Back on political duty with CNN in election week, I came across a dead rat in Downing Street. It had to be an omen, but had the rodent been leaving… Read more

turf

Farewell to the iron man, Tony McCoy

2 May 2015

At Sandown Park last Saturday an era ended. Twenty thousand of us turned up to cheer on Tony McCoy as he took his last two mounts and collected his 20th… Read more

AP McCoy’s last chance for a fairy-tale ending

18 April 2015

It all depends how you like your fairy tales. OK, so we would have loved the retiring Tony ‘AP’ McCoy, 20 years a champion, to have won his last Grand… Read more

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

After listening to a violinist’s justification of his playing, Dr Samuel Johnson responded tartly: ‘Difficult do you call it, Sir? I wish it were impossible.’ Racing’s marketing arm, Great British… Read more

Fairytale win: Nico de Boinville rides Coneygree to victory Photo: Getty

Disneyland comes to the Cheltenham Festival

21 March 2015

Irish racing guru Ted Walsh was asked at the start of Gold Cup day if retiring champion jockey Tony McCoy could win his last Cheltenham Festival race. ‘No,’ came the… Read more

Ascot Races

Racing’s biggest issue is the decline in field sizes

7 March 2015

‘I don’t want to seem unromantic,’ said Mrs Oakley as St Valentine’s Day approached, ‘but this year please don’t buy another of those Monet cards you seem to find appropriate… Read more

Mark Bradstock Photo: Getty

Why Mark and Sara Bradstock have only 12 horses is a mystery to me

21 February 2015

Some mysteries will never be solved, like why planes and boats disappear in the Bermuda Triangle, cats always land on their feet and why Mrs Oakley can always find a… Read more

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

Banks only lend money to those who can prove they don’t need it and it has not been a happy few months for racing with one trainer after another giving… Read more

Ascot Races

The Grand National doesn’t need Jeremy Kyle

24 January 2015

Never mind David Cameron. Are you participating in the Great Debate about an event of national significance that stirs the blood of millions? No, I don’t mean the General Election:… Read more

Chepstow Races

Venetia Williams: an enigmatic woman who trains winners

10 January 2015

Welsh Grand National day at Chepstow could not have had a better climax than the big race. After slogging three miles four furlongs on heavy, clinging ground, three horses came… Read more

Leighton Aspell riding Many Clouds win The Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury Photo: Getty

Christmas reading for racing folk

13 December 2014

‘Hang on a minute—he’s a bit wobbly,’ trainer Oliver Sherwood told photographers imploring him to stand with his winner when Many Clouds won this year’s Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.… Read more

Ruby Walsh riding Al Ferof Photo: Getty

Horse-racing’s resurrection man

29 November 2014

‘I’m going for Al Ferof,’ said a suit in front of me in the Totepool queue at Ascot on Saturday before the Amlin steeplechase. ‘Don’t waste your money,’ said his… Read more

Fingal Bay comes in at Aintree

Robin Oakley's Twelve to Follow for 2015 (this year's came out ahead)

15 November 2014

November has never been my favourite month, not since the time when as a Rugby-playing student my face was rearranged by an opponent’s boot. At an Oxford hospital’s casualty department… Read more

Chepstow Races

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

1 November 2014

The novelist Anita Brookner once declared that in real life hares always beat tortoises: ‘Every time. Look around you. And in any case it is my contention that Aesop was… Read more

Frankie Dettori riding Olympic Glory Photo: Getty

My first Arc de Triomph was a triumph

18 October 2014

Aboard our coach from Rouen to Paris for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe our lady guide put it succinctly: ‘The only polite Parisians are the ones who are asleep.’… Read more

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

Rightly, the authorities are doing all they can to find and discipline the disgruntled racegoer who threw a beer can at the champion jump jockey Tony McCoy after a recent… Read more

Runners clear an early fence in The Champagne Joseph Perrier Maiden Steeple Chase Race run at Fontwell Racecourse. (Photo by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)

When jockeys earn so little, temptation is not surprising

20 September 2014

While Mrs Oakley was patrolling the aisles in Waitrose one day recently, I slipped off into my local betting shop. There, too, fresh from the pub, was Mr Knowall on… Read more

Glorious Goodwood Photo: Getty

The making of a racing realist

6 September 2014

One of the greatest parliamentary sketch-writers of all time, Norman Shrapnel, made a point of never socialising with the politicians whose performances he chronicled. ‘I was worried it might dilute… Read more