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 including David Loder (in England), Arthur Moore (Ireland), Tommy Skiffington (America) and Colin Hayes (Australia) before returning to England where he served as assistant to Peter Walwyn for three and a half years.
When Walwyn retired in 1999 he 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 gave him his initial Pattern Race success when landing the Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes in April 2005. The following month she lost out by short head in the Irish 1000 Guineas so Beckett had to wait until 2008 for his first Classic triumph, provided by the 33-1 outsider, Look Here, in the Oaks.
The 2008 season also ended with a bang when he saddled Muhannak to land the Breeders’ Cup Marathon.
Another big overseas prize was plundered in 2012 when Electrelane won the German 1000 Guineas but undoubtedly the biggest day of Beckett’s career so far came on May 31 2013 when he won his second Oaks, notching a 1-2 with Talent and Secret Gesture in the fillies’ Classic at Epsom, race two in the Fillies & Mares division of the QIPCO British Champions Series. Talent followed that with a fine second place in the Ladbrokes St Leger and then third in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.
Numerically, his best seasons have been 2014 and 2015 (80 each time). He is married to Isabelle and they have two daughters, Katinka and Cressida.
Beckett landed his first blow of the 2015 QIPCO British Champions Series when Simple Verse was placed 2nd in the St Leger. The filly had past the post in the lead but was deemed by the stewards to have caused significant enough interference to award Bondi Beach the race.
However, 11 days later, the placings were reverted back to the original result with Simple Verse being handed the race following a successful appeal by connections.
Hot on the heels of the deserved reversal, Beckett once again sent Simple Verse out to Group 1 glory when landing the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes on British Champions Day.