Saturday 21 May 2016

A Racy Ladies' Night

Ladies' Night... the races, that was how I spent my 'annual significant day' this year - how lovely and happy it was too. Nothing to spoil it, just a super time with some great friendly people.

Now this is the point where I'm supposed to reveal my knowledge of horse racing, This is also the point where I will hold my hands up and say, I know nothing! All I know is that I have enjoyed a couple of similar race events, courtesy of the same kind host. So this now being my third experience, you would have thought I might have got to know how things work when it comes to placing a bet, right?
Wrong! I know nothing! It is still like a secret code.

I'm not a betting person but our host had kindly bought a Tote ticket for all the ladies present - seeing as it was Ladies' Night and I thought it would be a shame to waste it. But what to choose? I knew there are bets to win, and each way bets, so I wisely decided to split the stake over three races. Recalling my first ever horse racing bet a few years previous, I had selected 'Dudley Docker' purely because of the name - and it came in as the winner. Beginners luck! Employing the same formula seemed like a good idea so I looked down the race card, with No 6 'The Tailgater' running in the first race appealing to me. The second race had just four runners and I thought my odds for picking the winner would be good (what do I know?), until someone pointed out that the odds on each horse were very poor and I should skip to the third race, where I chose No 5 'Put The Boot In' and finishing off the last of my bets on No 3 'Occasionally Yours' in the fifth race.

Winner of the 5.25 - The Tailgater

The 5.25 at Huntingdon got under way, racegoers watching on the big screen until the group of horses came into view at the far corner, then jumping two hurdles before coming alongside the grandstand where I swiftly trained my camera on No 6. This wasn't the sprint for the finish but was useful for panning practise, and the horses went round again. Now in the final furlong, my lens was once again trained on No 6, the five way image stabilisation in my Olympus E-M5ii coming into play as I tried to contain my excitement when I watched 'The Tailgater' completely contradict his name by coming in first, at the front.

My first win of the night! Call this win Birthday luck!

I had high hopes for race three with 'Put The Boot In' but sadly I ended up turning my attentions to watching the crowd as No 5 came tailgating in at the back of the pack.

Race five - The 7.30 and 'Occasionally Yours' seemed to be emanating from the tannoy with reassuring regularity and as the horses passed the grandstand for the first time, the lovely bay gelding was comfortably placed just back from the front position.

Down to the final furlong now, and the female jockey was inching 'Occasionally Yours' ahead of 'Rolling Dough'...

Winner of the 7.30 - Occasionally Yours

Striding for the finish and No 3 went over the line in first place, providing me with my second win of the evening. Hooray!

Time to wander off and to take a look around the parade enclosure, and collect my winnings. It is actually enough to buy myself a replacement bottle of my favourite perfume - I guess you could say it is indirectly a birthday gift from our host - Thank you Alan!

In the paddock, a pensive Sean Quinlan, a champion hunt jockey, was waiting for the start of The 8.00, the penultimate race of the evening.

Back alongside the rails, punters eagerly watched the race on the big screen in the now chill air of the evening, and just as the race came to its climax, the sun reappeared as if someone had switched on the stage lights, subtly back-lighting the runners as they galloped by.

The day and the evening had also galloped by, and with just one last race to round off the evening, this little mite couldn't quite stay awake to the end.

Our grateful thanks to Alan Woods at AJW Distribution  for a splendid evening.


  1. Birthday treat, enjoying the odd flutter on a horse or two, and yet still time to pick up the camera and get some great shots...nicely selected variety to them. What lens was used for the racing shots and did you have to crop much

  2. Thank you for your kind comments Chris!
    As you may realise, editorial skills spread wider than just working on a single image, it is also important to choose a relevant series of images to tell the story.
    The lens used was the cracking M.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8 Pro (300mm equivalent) and it was just the racing shots taken from high up on the grandstand which required a slightly more radical element of cropping. The images taken around the course were as shot (barring minor straightening)

    PS don't intend to make a habit of having a flutter - unless it is enough to allow me to buy a new lens!!


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