It was a Saturday afternoon and instead of arriving at a football stadium 4 hours before kick off to be sat in the cold waiting for a steward to open a door and hand me a damp smelly bib and a food voucher for a stale hot dog, I was being welcomed in to a warm barn and offered a shot of port and a sausage roll and contemplating which corner of the stables would be best for light. As it turned out which ever I corner I had chosen would have worked perfectly well as the low winter sun and just above freezing conditions were about as perfect as I could've hoped for.
I've covered the Cheltenham Festival, The Grand National and Royal Ascot many times and although I had my 'editorial head' on during those events I never felt the same amount of creative freedom as I did at Kimblewick. "feel free to go wherever you want.....just get my good side" bellowed The Huntsman as he set off with his hounds excitedly following behind.
Another big difference was at a Hunt there are no barriers to guide you around a track. You have to either be really fit in order to run (not me), or extremely lucky to be in the right place at the right time. It's not covered by a gaggle of journalists and there aren't TV camera's positioned at every corner. So if something did happen that I didn't know about I wouldn't leave feeling like I missed a shot.
I'm not sure I've ever felt like I've wanted winter to last just a little longer so I could get my teeth in to another few of these events!