Horse racing

The difference between praying in church and praying at a racecourse

30 April 2016 9:00 am

The difference between praying in church and praying at the racecourse, a gnarled old punter once said, is that at…

Dinner with a Grand National winner

23 April 2016 9:00 am

Not quite nil humanum a me alienum, but I have always been interested in other people’s trades and worlds. That…

The Grand National a predictable affair? Not a bit of it

16 April 2016 9:00 am

With great victories in Flat racing you witness hats-in-the-air exultation. You see the pride of trainers who nurtured the winner…

Cheltenham has no brothels – I wonder why

26 March 2016 9:00 am

I shared a taxi from Cheltenham station to the house party in an outlying village with a stripper. Finding a…

My horse's race career hangs by a tendon

12 March 2016 9:00 am

‘Racing is 99.9 per cent disappointment,’ said the trainer philosophically, as I sat in the yard sipping coffee, waiting for…

Five little words that signify catastrophe

5 March 2016 9:00 am

Darcy trod on a screw. Five little words which, if Darcy was anything other than a thoroughbred horse, might signify…

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…

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.…

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…

If there were bones sticking out, I’m out — midlife crisis or no midlife crisis

29 October 2015 9:00 am

‘This is a two Voltarol day,’ I thought, as I popped another pill and settled into the bath after Darcy’s…

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…

From Darcy's first gallop, I was addicted to speed

17 October 2015 8:00 am

The young lad behind the counter of the betting shop looked at me askance. ‘This horse is 200–1.’ ‘Yes. I…

I rode my own racehorse and was changed for ever

10 October 2015 9:00 am

‘The last owner who tried to ride his own horse got tanked,’ said the trainer, looking up at me as…

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.…

Still from the documentary ‘Palio’: a medieval rite at once nonsensical and puerile, and yet profoundly alive and meaningful

Palio exposes the bribery and violence that lies at the heart of Siena’s lawless ritual

19 September 2015 8:00 am

Siena’s Palio is steeped in violence, bribery and corruption. But it matters to its people more than anything, says Jasper Rees

Siena shows that northern Italy is just better at getting drunk

12 September 2015 9:00 am

The Indian summer was still fending off the mists and mellow fruitfulness. But the autumn term was about to begin;…

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…

Welcome to Miliband country: how Labour would wreck rural life

2 May 2015 9:00 am

A ‘progressive alliance’ would be a profound threat to rural life

Do Scots really die that much younger?

11 April 2015 9:00 am

The Scottish way of death Nicola Sturgeon said the SNP would block a rise in the state pension age on…

Sam Waley-Cohen’s Grand National notebook

11 April 2015 9:00 am

‘How’s your shoulder?’ someone asked recently, and it was only then I realised, for the first time in a while,…

Horse racing, Sancerre and escaped lobsters

30 August 2014 9:00 am

A stint in dry dock — the ‘dry’ literally — has one advantage. There is time for lots of long…