The turf

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…

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…

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…

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.…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.…

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…

Eclipse

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…

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…

Frankie Dettori: Britain’s favourite Italian is back

13 June 2015 9:00 am

Nothing has been lost since William Powell Frith painted his Derby Day panorama in 1858: today, instead of the carriages…

Why jockeys prefer riding on the Flat

30 May 2015 9:00 am

Getting to Goodwood last Saturday was an achievement in itself. On the Bank Holiday weekend I calculated a cross-country route…

My Twelve to Follow are seven up

16 May 2015 9:00 am

Back on political duty with CNN in election week, I came across a dead rat in Downing Street. It had…

Farewell to the iron man, Tony McCoy

2 May 2015 9:00 am

At Sandown Park last Saturday an era ended. Twenty thousand of us turned up to cheer on Tony McCoy as…

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

18 April 2015 9:00 am

It all depends how you like your fairy tales. OK, so we would have loved the retiring Tony ‘AP’ McCoy,…

Who will fund a prize for the true fighter pilots of the Turf?

4 April 2015 9:00 am

After listening to a violinist’s justification of his playing, Dr Samuel Johnson responded tartly: ‘Difficult do you call it, Sir?…