Frog and Field go to the ‘At the Races Sussex National’

Plumpton racecourse is a regular stomping ground of mine. Linda and Karen often have runners there and I have always found it to be friendly. I plucked up to courage to enquire about a press pass as I wanted to get nearer to the action. Harriet was very friendly and directed me about what I needed to do. Happily, I already have decent insurance, this was after Emmelia’s jaunt in the field! Once those documents were sent over there was only a short form too complete.

On the day I headed to office to sign the final bits and voila I had my press pass. One of the conditions of the pass was that I only used my images on my blog, website and for Linda’s website. This was to avoid a conflict of interest with the course’s official photographer. Fair enough I thought, we all know this is a tough way to earn money.

Frog and Field go to the ‘At the Races Sussex National’-what to do next?

Once I had my pass though I was a little lost. There was another photographer, un-official but involved in the marketing and his images deck the hallways of Plumpton. After I asked him if I could follow him as I didn’t want to get squished he was happy to let me tag along. I’ve worked with horses for years and regularly led up but a pass allows you pretty close to the action.

Scarily close at times-I can see why they wanted insurance details!We ran up and down from hurdle to chase fence and back to the parade ring. It’s pretty hectic and you have to be fairly fit. Linda and Karen had a runner in the fourth race and for the first time I didn’t go into the stable yard.

It was a peculiar feeling. I wanted to spend as much time with Nick as possible to fully learn the ropes. My equipment felt rather puny in comparison with all the others and I was a bit green eyed monster. Still I managed to get some great images and more importantly get some trackside experience.

Frog and Field go to the ‘At the Races Sussex National’- Kayflin Wins

Kayflin ran in the fourth race, and ran an absolute corker of a race to win! Unknown to me the husband had a little flutter and won a decent sum of cash, maybe I will get some big lenses to play with. However down on the track you can’t see the screens and it’s hard to know exactly what happens. A very odd feeling, to be at the races but not feel at the races. It was a totally different experience. After hearing over the load speaker about the win I legged it back to Karen and gave her a massive hug.

Kayflin, Georgie, is very special to Karen and has been her project for the last year. If you look back through the Facebook page you will some pictures of her schooling over fences. Karen has worked her magic with her and she truly deserves this fantastic start to the year.

Frog and Field go to the ‘At the Races Sussex National’-The National

The Sussex National was next and again being down on the track meant you missed out on the buzz of the racecourse. Still I got epically close to the chase fence and definitely could have bought a shorter lens! It was fantastic to be able to pick and choose and Nick was able to let me know where I could and couldn’t go. I learnt a step ladder is a tool of the trade, especially over the huge chase fences and also some of the best shots are as they go down to start, especially on a muddy day like Monday.

So that’s my first experience as photographer with a press pass. Hopefully not the last time as I can’t wait to get up close again. Massive thank you to Karen and Linda, without them I would be doing this. Also to Plumpton and Nick for being so helpful and supportive. You have given 2017 a cracking start!