Multiple Classic-winning trainer Ralph (pronounced ‘Rayf’) Beckett got his first job in racing at a very young age as stable lad to Yorkshire trainer Jimmy Fitzgerald.
He went on to spend time with other trainers around the world, including with David Loder (in England), Arthur Moore (Ireland), Tommy Skiffington (America) and Colin Hayes (Australia) before returning to Britain where he served as assistant to Peter Walwyn for three and a half years.
When Walwyn retired in 1999, Beckett took over the licence at Windsor House Stables in Lambourn. He moved to Whitsbury just over six years later and then on to his current base, Kimpton Down Stables, in early 2011.
His first top-class horse was Penkenna Princess, who out by short head in the Irish 1000 Guineas in 2005. Classic glory followed three years later when Look Here landed the Oaks at 33/1. Later that year he also saddled Muhannak to land the Breeders’ Cup Marathon.
Electrelane won the German 1000 Guineas for Beckett in 2012 and his knack with fillies was confirmed the following year when Talent and Secret Gesture gave him a famous 1-2 in the Oaks. Talent went on to finish second in the Ladbrokes St Leger plus third in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.
In 2015, Beckett went one better in the St Leger with Simple Verse, but only after drama, anguish and controversy.
His Simple Verse, carrying the colours of Qatar Racing Limited and pictured above, was first past the post in the lead but was deemed by the stewards to have caused significant enough interference to award runner-up Bondi Beach the race.
However, 11 days later, the placings were revised at a BHA enquiry after Simple Verse’s connections appealed. Most believed justice had been done.
Simple Verse followed up in the Group 1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes on British Champions Day.
Beckett has trained more than 1100 winners and chalked up a personal best 103 winners in 2020.
He is married to Isabelle and they have two daughters, Katinka and Cressida.