Lights, camera, action – live TV presenting looks like a lot of fun. They say not to work with children or animals but sometimes it can’t be helped, especially if you’re a horse racing presenter like Gina Harding.
Speaking with Horse & Hound, the presenter let us in on the inside track of what it’s like to present as a racing TV host for an audience of over 550,000 people.
1. There are no rehearsals
It’s no surprise that live telly is incredibly high pressured but there’s nothing that can prepare you for the reactionary nature of it. “You have to be able to react on the spot to the action unfolding in front of you. The preparation that goes into a day largely involves making sure you are abreast of any relevant news or back stories involving certain horses or connections.”
2. Be prepared for loads of early starts
Since races take place all over the country, Gina has to stay overnight at most of the areas that need to be covered. She arrivers on the race course at 6:30am to get hair and make-up done as well as go over the day’s research.
3. A lot of thought goes into the outfits
“Deciding what to wear takes up an unhealthy amount of my time not to mention my bank balance. It’s important to look smart but also practical for the variety of tasks required of a racing broadcaster.”
4. The audience are ruthlessly knowledgable
The racing communities are impressively well read so doing your research thoroughly is an absolute must. With Twitter and Facebook the only way to avoid a barrage of abuse from avid racing fans is to present diligently and correctly.
5. Anything can happen at the races
No matter how much preparation is done, there is still an element of unpredictability – that’s part of the fun of the races. You never know which outsider is going to steam ahead to be first past the post.