The Cheltenham Festival is the pinnacle of the Horse Racing jump season, culminating in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Always packed over the four days it’s a great opportunity to take some memorable photographs.
Getty Images sport photographers, Alan Crowhurst, Richard Heathcote, Mike Hewitt and Andrew Redington have each picked out their favourite images from the four days of racing and give a little detail into how they got these pictures.
Day 3 – The Runners in The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase were making a the return to the grandstands after being pulled up, I shot this on a 35mm lens, very close to the grass in a low angle looking up into the light to make it look dramatic.
Day 2: A racegoer cheers home Sire De Grugy in the Champion Chase. Shot on a 300mm lens, the picture is made by the punter screaming as they go by.
Day 1: The bookmaker’s boards shot with a 600mm lens across two enclosures to compress the view. They are actually over 50m apart, compressing the angle with a long lens makes the amount of bookmakers boards look bigger and the area extra busy
Taken on the final race on day two I actually visualised the shot the same time the previous day. I was setting up a remote on a jump with the sunset and watched the horses run through the low light. Thinking how nice it would look if I could catch one of the horses in the flarfrom the sun, I returned the following day and used a slow shutter speed to help create the feeling of movement as the pack of horses make their way towards the grandstands.
The horses are unsaddled in the winners enclosure, so there is a brief period before they have a blanket thrown over them. This gave me a window of opportunity to capture the sweat on the horses back after triumphing in a gruelling race.
The plan with this remote was to capture the sun peaking through part of a horse or rider as they jumped the fence. Setting the camera with a small aperture like f11 helps to make the sun’s rays push out in a star pattern, then by putting the camera on 14fps it gave me plenty of chances to get the horse and sun just in the right place to work.
I wanted to show the size of the crowd with horses in action so I spent an hour looking for a suitable vantage point for a general view of the masses below. Managed to upset some commentators but hey-ho.
The silhouette works nicely as you don't often get horses so beautifully spread out like that. Needless to say it was shot on a remote, you wouldn’t want to hand hold a camera in that position...
The light on Ruby Walsh celebrating is beautiful. And I swear he's celebrating just for me. Shot on a 500mm, if he'd delayed his celebration for a stride or two then I'd have been screwed...
Gold Cup: There was the normal gathering of photographers around the winning horse after it crossed the line and since it was so congested I had my camera up in the Hail Mary position over the heads of the other photographers as the winning jockey Davy Russell did this strange (cult?) celebration of flapping his arms and looking to the sky. Thankfully it turned out OK.