Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Wednesday - Hello leprechauns


Day 2 of the Festival dawned cloudy and feeling very chilly after yesterday's cruel joke that Spring was almost here. So again I donned the tweed (though this time with multiple layers underneath) and headed up to the racecourse. First off I went down to see the course being prepared and the horses on the gallops with two of the presenters Chris and Paul who were opening the day's coverage for Cheltenham Radio - it was great to see the area without the crowds although there was certainly a feeling of the calm before the storm! What I picked up from that exchange was how naturally Chris and Paul could change between their off air chatting to their on air character, it was very interesting to watch and certainly a skill I'd like to acquire.

The rest of the morning was fairly quiet but as the races drew closer I latched myself onto Dave Farrar again and followed him round for the afternoon. In the first race it was great to see two female jockeys come in 1st and 2nd - something that happens rarely in a mixed field. After this we went to the Guinness Village to find some punters to interview, when a proper scouse in a pink shirt came up to us, it hardly seemed like a glowing interview wrong I was. In the interview he said how he was backing outsider Peddlers Cross and would be a very rich man if he won - if he did he joked that he'd tell everyone it was him who said that and if not he'd steal a friend's name! Off the record he said over £100k was at stake. It was a great story, so when Peddlers Cross beat the hot favourite over the line everything went slightly mad. We finally managed to catch up with the very happy gentleman outside the tent where champagne flows freely! As well as the whole episode being a great story in itself Dave also gave me a useful pointer not to try to pre-plan or write stories at similar sorts of events - it's always possible to pick up threads of stories like this and carry them through. This was demonstrated later when another of the presenters managed to get an interview with Jeremy Kyle, where one of his points was then referred back to in a later punter interview.

It was certainly Barry Geraghty's afternoon, winning two races on the bounce, the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the expense of Master Minded who was going for a hat trick. Stepping away from the work experience role for a moment, horse - wise Cue Card really caught my eye winning the Weatherbys Champion Bumper on 40:1 odds - he was one of only two 4 year olds in the final race and swept up the final hill in such fantastic style, I hope to see a lot more of him in the future.

Today has been a good day for networking as I've met some pretty high ranking sports journalists and Dave re-iterated what we have been told in lectures about the importance of establishing a contact book as early as possible. Of course talent should get you somewhere, but undeniably much of it has to be helped by who you know not what you know. And also learn to appreciate the perks of the job - free champagne rather than food for lunch...well it would just be rude to refuse!

And so farewell to the day of Guinness, leprechauns and shamrocks and hello to hats, shoes and more champagne - bring on ladies day!


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