Monday, 14 May 2012

A day at the races; lording it at Goodwood

Tickets for the big day © Caroline Fraser 2012
Last weekend I had the pleasure of celebrating a big family birthday ( big meaning older than one could possibly want to be). We spent the day at Goodwood racecourse, on the first day of the season for 2012.

The scene was set long before we arrived at the venue, by the instruction given several times that "ladies will be wearing hats" and the arrival of this box of delightfully custard coloured tickets.  Anyone who knows me knows my ability to consume gallons of custard. It was clear that this was not to be a day mixing with the masses in the bar downstairs being noisy and getting drunk; we were to be ladies and gentlemen for the day, and outfits had to be purchased to fit the occasion.

My eldest, her man and I set off in torrential rain to the racecourse. It was cold. It was 6 degrees centigrade, and windy. When we arrived we donned our coats and macs and shivered our way in our glad rags to the party venue. The room looked wonderful, with food and drink and a view of the race course. It was cold, there being no heating and a free flow of air from outside. So we kept our coats on ALL DAY because we had to. No one got to see our lovely new dresses, and a fascinator just doesn't look quite the same with a mac.

But we had fun. A lot of fun.

Of course one has to place bets, and a competition set up between the guests trying to find the most effective tactic for choosing a winner. The ridiculous excitement and joy of winning 14-1 was followed by the misery of losing every subsequent race for one lady punter.

race predictions © Caroline Fraser 2012
As you can see, following the tips in the newspapers was one way, but proved very unreliable. And which paper to believe?

Choosing a nice name was very effective for the first race, but a disaster thereafter. Likewise choosing by jockey colours. Studying the form was probably the least successful route to riches on our day.

All can say is that I came home up on the day after following the Daily Mail advice for the last race - the bookies favourite too.

In which I almost make my fortune © Caroline Fraser 2012

I discovered once more that animal photography is not my forte. I got myself lined up at the winning post , pre-focussed the camera, set to multiple exposure and waited for the horses to cross the line.

As the horses raced past in a matter of seconds, I pressed the fast shutter release on my Panasonic GF1.

A few seconds later the shutter released................and a few more seconds later it released again.....................

Lets just say the camera isn't designed for sports photography.

I did get the front of one horse, without its head or its rider. I got several shots of no horse at all.

front end © Caroline Fraser 2012

And my favourite shot for the day is probably this one, where I missed the horse altogether but just caught its tail.

back end © Caroline Fraser 2012

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