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A Day in the life of Ascot TV

I’ve just spent my fourth year presenting Royal Ascot TV alongside Rupert and thought I’d give you an insight into our day!

8.30 – Arrive at the course – It’s good to get in well ahead of time as the traffic around the course, particularly on Saturday can be a nightmare, so I aim to get there at about 8.30, grab a Racing Post, a coffee and get some homework done. We’re pitching our coverage to racegoers who we can’t assume have been racing before. It’s good to be across all the runners and their form, but we try to focus on the key stories of the day and put each race into perspective for new racegoers.

9.30- Hair & make-up. I do my own make-up, but I’m very lucky that the Channel 4 make-up lady, Sharee will put my hair up for me and secure my hat. I mostly have it up during the week as that tends to suit wearing hats. Sheree is a magician at putting it up beautifully and hiding all the hat elastic and making sure it’s all going to stay put for the whole day. It’s a long day, so a fair amount of hair spray is used! Getting all my outfits together for Royal Ascot can be a bit of a nightmare. I’m very lucky that I borrow most of my dresses and hats, but I usually spend hours deciding what to wear depending on the weather, my mood and what day it is a Ascot. I try and save my most colorful outfit for Thursday as that’s Ladies Day!

10 – Production meeting – This is really the only time we get to talk to all the guys behind the scenes who put the show together. They are based in the truck so all we hear is their voice through our ear-pieces for most of the day. Gerry, our director takes us through the running order and we all suggest ideas on features or interviewees. The running order is fairly relaxed and interchangeable which gives us lots of freedom!

11- On Air! We open the show at a different venue each day, but the first day is always by the beautiful Sovereign’s Gate. Rupert leads the presentation and introduces Martha Ward and I. Martha is from Vogue TV so focuses solely on fashion. Rupert and I do everything else. This ranges from talking to racegoers, interviewing trainers & jockeys, features in restaurants and bars around the racecourse as well as running through the racecard to try and pick a winner with racing pundits.

It’s a full on morning. From 11 till 1.30 we are nonstop. Some highlights from 2014 include interviewing celebrity chef Tom Kerridge in his ‘On 5’ restaurant, having fun with Frankie Dettori whilst he tried presenting Ascot TV & just generally talking to racegoers about their outfits and hats which they have spent months assembling and they looked beautiful!

1.30 – The royal procession gets underway, so it’s time for a little break whilst our colleague, Mike Vince voices the pictures from studio. I try to take my shoes off for 20 minutes to rest my feet!

2.20 – Race sequence begins! Generally during the afternoon, it is my job to be in the parade ring with owners & trainers to try and grab some last minute sound-bites on their runners. I love this role as you get a real sense of occasion and atmosphere. Everyone has such high hopes of success in the parade ring when in reality only one horse will return victorious. I watch the race from the parade ring as many of the trainers stay in there, so there’s always a chance of getting that first winning interview on Ascot TV. Once the presentation has taken place, Rupert takes the winning connections off to the press conference whilst I will often interview whoever’s made the presentation. This year that included Sir Terry Wogan, Stephen Fry, Lizzie Yarnold & model, Jaquette Wheeler. Once that’s done it all starts again for the next race!

5.45 – Straight after the final presentation, we close the show and encourage everyone to head over the bandstand for the end of day ‘Royal Ascot singsong’.

6 – And Relax! Catch up on emails, look at the next day’s card and have a well earned glass of Champagne…well it is Royal Ascot after all!

by Aly Rowell