As a newcomer to Mansfield we thought it was only fitting that we attend one of the bigger events of the year - The Mansfield Races on Melbourne Cup Day. Not one to frequent the race track or gamble I was more interested in seeing the Fashions on the Field and as a sports photographer take a few shots of the racing action. Not knowing what to expect I pre ordered four tickets to marquee and lawn party area which provided shelter in case it rained but which came in very handy in the hot conditions on the day. It was very comfortable and a great location but with my inexperience of race day didn't realise that you could take in your own food and as a result was envious of other tables who had all sorts of goodies.
It didn't take long before the familiar voice of Greg Evans appeared over the loud speaker for the start of Fashions on the Field. I had jokingly thought I could enter given I had purchased a new dress and fascinator for the occasion and even did my nails but alas there were so many gorgeous outfits that I felt better staying behind the camera.
Fashions on the field began with the junior entrants followed by the "Dapper Male". The contestants were clearly having a wonderful time as were the crowd of onlookers.
It wasn't long before the first race was underway and I went to the fence to capture what I could. While I managed a few shots I was completely taken aback by how fast the horses were. Once minute they were like little dots on the other side of the track and next they were on top of you. The speed and the power of these animals was just amazing and I couldn't wait for the next race to get underway.
The next Fashion on the field category was the Smart Couples with first prize being a Sebel Pinnacle Accommodation and Dinner Package, Flowers and Sash!
The next race was 1600m which meant the starting gate was no longer on the opposite side of the track but was positioned along the straight outside the lawn party area. Seeing the horses take off from the gates was a whole new experience again. You could hear and feel the horses restless in their barriers and when the gates were opened they launched forward with such power. I can't image how it must feel being a jockey astride one of these magnificent animals.
More Fashions on the Field with Lady of the Day, Millinery Award and Ms Mansfield but I must confess that I was distracted by the horses and checking what else the day had to offer so missed a few events:(
Overall I was pretty happy with my first attempt at photographing horse racing - I packed lightly given I was dressed for the races but next time I'll take the sports camera and 300mm lens!
Thanks to everyone involved in putting on this event, my guests and I had a fantastic time and will definitely be back!