It was about 10 to 12 as I went back out through the main gates at Newbury to record a piece for Dubai TV on the ever increasing queue of racegoers waiting to come in for the 29th Dubai International Raceday.
Some had been there for over 2 hours but just as I went out the heavens opened -the rain was torrential and the hundreds of people were getting absolutely soaked!
They cant come in until 12 oclock said one stern faced official who was obviously following orders but he quickly changed his mind and agreed with me when I suggested opening up and let the people come in and get under cover.
Thanks Tommo said the first gentleman as he and his wife scurried past in search of a place to dry out while we dont mind were British and were used to it was the pleasingly pleasant response from another as I stretched my microphone forward.
And so despite the rain the biggest annual free day in the British Racing Calendar was off and running and although many of the 12,000 plus crowd were local there were a few whod come from miles away indeed it always surprises me when I ask on the microphone- Ill give a prize to the person whos travelled the furthest today.
Within minutes I had a couple from South Africa but the lady who won (a couple of free tickets to see Sir Tom Jones at Newbury next month) was a lady who had come all the way from Australia and assured me her name was Sheila!!!
I stand on the steps of the weighing room- principally to keep dry- but its also a great place to nab people for interviews as I chatter away keeping people up to date with whats happening and whats coming up but its also a great place to check out the girls who are registering for the Best Dressed Lady Competition.
This of course is purely for research purposes as I will need to know what I am looking for and talking about whilst assisting in the judging later in the afternoon!!!
My early impressions are that this years line up looks very promising!
An hour before the first race Philip Brannan who works so hard to make this day the success it has become walks out with me into the parade ring and from now on this will be the Centre of Operations!
However as soon as we arrive we are hit with a monumental rain storm and even under the cover the water sweeps in and from the waist down we are getting wet- big time!!
Theres nothing else to do but keep talking on the microphone to the 5 people huddled around me to try and keep dry and they included Tony Newman of the Arabian Racing Organisation and Chris Jarvis representing the new sponsors Rotana Hotels.
He was very wet, his glasses needed windscreen wipers, his hair and face were soaked but despite all this he answered every question I put to him and after 15 minutes of talking I can now safely say that we all know just about everything about every Rotana Hotel!
As the rain eases 2 jet helicopters land bringing HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum and other members of the Royal Family from Dubai to the track and the jockeys get mounted for the first race of this amazing day.
Its the biggest and best racing day for Arabian horses anywhere in the world says English born but Qatar based trainer Julian Smart after he had greeted the second of his two winners. There may be a few richer races elsewhere but this is the day where it counts and in my business this is where winning means everything!
The famous blue and white silks of HH Sheikh Hamdan make it into the winners enclosure 3 times and even before his horses have arrived back to the winners enclosure their famous owner is already there waiting to greet them and there is no doubting his love and enthusiasm for pure bred Arabian racing.
Indeed its Sheikh Hamdan who almost on his own keeps this tremendous day going with his financial support and towards the end of the day his right hand man whom I call simply Mr Merza but who is one of the most powerful men in the Middle East comes across to tell me HH Highness has confirmed that the 3 day Dubai Festival at Newbury will go ahead next year on July 13th, 14th and 15th.
I then pop up into the Royal Box to give my personal thanks to Sheikh Hamdan and also remind him that as next year will be the 30th Dubai International Raceday he might like to consider something associated with a 30th anniversary namely a Pearl. Watch this space!
The highlight of the day for me though was meeting and interviewing over 50 female students from the United Arab Emirates who had spent the last 4 weeks at the Maktoum Institute in Dundee.
They spoke in superb English in glowing terms about their stay in Scotland and how they had integrated so well with the local people and I must say out of all the interviews I conduct on this day this was the one that stands out a mile.
Indeed they got a well deserved round of applause from the people around the parade ring who listened with interest to these young ladies who as Sheikh Hamdan always assures me They are the future!
Sheikh Hamdan flies out after the last race and as I ask the crowd to wave goodbye to the departing helicopter Richard Osgood, the Clerk of the Course , drives the brand new red Peugeot into the winners enclosure with the registration number WIN ME!
This free to enter competition attracts a massive crowd around the winners enclosure and there are cries of female delight as I announce the winning name Peter Charman who on arrival into the winners enclosure assures me this is the best birthday present hes ever had!
However he looks as if he has rather enjoyed his birthday a little too much so I dont think hell be driving home in his new car tonight and that is confirmed by his still screaming with delight daughter who runs into the winners enclosure and when I ask her where her father was when he heard his name announced she shouts into my microphone-
Dad was in the loo!
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Blog update 21.01.2013
Blog Update (Part 2) 21.01.2013
Blog update 01.01.2013
Tommos World of Racing! 30.11.2012
Tommos World of Racing! 26.11.2012
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Tommo looks ahead to Derby Day with a big outsider!!! 31.05.2012
Tommo on the Newmarket Gallops 29.05.2012
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Tommos been on the gallops 06.04.2012
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Tommos World of Racing 13.02.2012
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Tommo meets Owen and Rooney! 20.12.2011
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Tommos world of racing 12.12.2011
tommo looks ahead to the Turf World Championships in Hong Kong on Sunday morning! 08.12.2011
Tommos World Of Racing 03.12.2011
Tommo visits the lady trainer with the impressive stats! 30.11.2011
Tommos World of Racing 28.11.2011
Tommos World of Racing 21.11.2011
Clive Smith 21.11.2011
Horses to be on next time out! 16.11.2011
WOW WHAT A WEEKEND TO LOOK FORWARD TO! 10.11.2011
Tommos World of Racing 06.11.2011
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The Autumn Double and NEWS update 24.09.2011
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James and Fred! 29.08.2011
Tommos York August Meeting 14.08.2011
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HORSES TO FOLLOW 25.07.2011
Dubai Day! 19.07.2011
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Tommos World of Racing 30.06.2011
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2,000 Guineas 28.04.2011
Tommos World of Racing-HOT FROM THE GALLOPS! 21.04.2011
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I feel sorry.... 10.03.2011
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ALL CHANGE HERE AT HQ!!! 01.03.2011
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SNOW IN DUBAI!!!!! 21.02.2011
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HENRY CECIL 14.02.2011
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LETS GO RACING! 20.01.2011
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DID YOU GET ON?!?! 18.01.2011
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The Tizzard family 21.12.2010
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