The turf

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

1 November 2014 9:00 am

The novelist Anita Brookner once declared that in real life hares always beat tortoises: ‘Every time. Look around you. And…

My first Arc de Triomph was a triumph

18 October 2014 9:00 am

Aboard our coach from Rouen to Paris for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe our lady guide put it succinctly:…

These are the ones to watch in the Prix de l’Abbaye and the Derby

4 October 2014 9:00 am

Rightly, the authorities are doing all they can to find and discipline the disgruntled racegoer who threw a beer can…

When jockeys earn so little, temptation is not surprising

20 September 2014 9:00 am

While Mrs Oakley was patrolling the aisles in Waitrose one day recently, I slipped off into my local betting shop.…

The making of a racing realist

6 September 2014 9:00 am

One of the greatest parliamentary sketch-writers of all time, Norman Shrapnel, made a point of never socialising with the politicians…

Some horses go better for a woman

23 August 2014 9:00 am

Mrs Oakley returned from her latest book club with an uplifting story. The Mother Superior of an Irish convent was…

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

9 August 2014 9:00 am

If I get to choose where to spend my last day on earth it will probably be at Glorious Goodwood.…

A day with the West Ilsley trainer Denis Coakley

26 July 2014 9:00 am

Through a stormy July weekend our task was to prevent four feisty grandchildren from murdering or mutilating each other before…

Ralph Beckett's winning way with the fillies

12 July 2014 9:00 am

Fretful horses who waste their energies — and often their racing potential — ceaselessly pacing their stable dormitories are known…

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

28 June 2014 9:00 am

The one sight I was determined not to miss at Royal Ascot was that of the Queen from over the…

Cambridge, meet your first professor of racing lore

14 June 2014 9:00 am

Watching the contestants parade at Epsom for this year’s Oaks, I remembered the great D. Wayne Lukas’s pronouncement on selecting…

Will racing waste its Scoop6 jackpot?

31 May 2014 9:00 am

Eight people became millionaires last Saturday, collecting £1,342,599 each when the Scoop6 bet, which had been rolled over for 12…

My 12 tips for the racing year

17 May 2014 9:00 am

In sport, winning is everything. Come second and only your parents and the dog remember. Most readers will have forgotten…

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

3 May 2014 9:00 am

Mrs Oakley takes a dim view of my using the BMW that consumed much of her savings to ferry sacks…

Sympathy for the bookies

19 April 2014 9:00 am

We all have to adjust to reality, like the lady who entered a Barbados bar having already enjoyed several gin…

Why the other jockeys love Jamie Moore

5 April 2014 9:00 am

In the parade ring just after Sire De Grugy had won this year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase, I found myself…

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

22 March 2014 9:00 am

No sporting event anywhere compresses so much drama, emotion and character into a single venue as the Cheltenham Festival. It…

How Paul Bittar has kept British racing together

8 March 2014 9:00 am

British racing is such a quirky minefield that some were surprised when in 2011 the authorities chose Paul Bittar, a…

The Grand National needs kinder weather

22 February 2014 9:00 am

This year you don’t want to be a jockey’s valet. Never have their washing machines spun so vigorously. From every…

Women simply don't understand sport's importance

8 February 2014 9:00 am

Liverpool manager Bill Shankly was once challenged with the story that for their wedding anniversary treat he had taken his…

When lawyers take to racehorses

25 January 2014 9:00 am

Can you be both restless and content? Standing last week with Graeme McPherson on the viewing platform over his sharply…

How jockeys play dirty

11 January 2014 9:00 am

At Christmas a friend from CNN sent me the story of a US officer on a European train. Searching for…

Why does Newbury alienate potential racegoers?

14 December 2013 9:00 am

You don’t realise how much your pleasures mean until you are denied them. It was wonderful to get back on…

Christmas racing reading

7 December 2013 9:00 am

In one of those old Mae West films a girl admires her friend’s jewellery: ‘Goodness, what lovely pearls,’ only to…

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

23 November 2013 9:00 am

Women truly are different. Recovering in a spare bedroom from the wonders of a hip replacement (don’t ever jump on…