The Gaitpost caught up with Vanessa Binnie Ryle, assistant producer and fledgling presenter at At The Races channel, ahead of the 2015 Royal Ascot meeting. Here she shares her Pro Secrets with us and tips us the wink on who to look out for this week.
I have always ridden horses, right the way through Pony Club, then into hunting and eventing- so that’s where the passion for horses comes from. As for racing; the only way I could watch horses on the TV when I was younger was to watch the racing on a Saturday. The addiction led on from there; falling in love with the likes of Sea The Stars and Kauto Star- I was hooked! Both my parents worked in media so combining the passion of racing and the media background- that’s how I ended up at At The Races.
Past: Well he is most definitely still with us but I used to be fascinated by Harvey Smith in his show jumping days.
Present: Aidan O’Brien: He is a genius and a perfectionist.
My horse, Chief!
Flat trainer James Bethell’s yard in Middleham is beautiful. His horses have one of the best views in the country: right across the Yorkshire Dales. (I am from Yorkshire so am slightly biased towards Gods own county!)
Germany- they are still streets ahead of the UK in sports horse breeding and (I haven’t been) but it would seem that they put on a show better than most nations. Aachen is viewed by the eventers as one of the best events in the world. I would love to go one day.
I would like someone to say (in many years to come) that I inspired their love of racing. If I become a presenter and can inspire just a few people to go racing or tune into the racing then that would be mission accomplished.
The ultimate cliché but it would have to be AP McCoy. The more I learn about the racing world, the more I realize he is quite simply one in a million. Sport, let alone just racing, won’t see the likes of him again any time soon.
They have to be willing. Sports horses, or racehorses, they can have all the talent in the world but it doesn’t mean anything unless they have a will to do the job in hand. Some horses have that… they are the ones who will pull it out the bag when you think the game is lost.
Childcare! I am a qualified childcare practitioner and growing up all I wanted to do was own a Day Nursery. If the racing bug hadn’t bitten then that is where I would be now.
Two things really stick with me. My mum once told me: “You get out of life what you put in.”
And I once read: “Is there anything worse than missing the Plum for fear of shaking the Tree?”
I hate my head being touched.
No, not really. Although just before my Mum’s 3* horse jumped clear around Bramham, a friend found a four leaf clover; she laminated it and we now borrow it for when Mulry is in a big event.
Hat, Pikeur breeches, Polos, Polly Pad and my Buffalo Skin saddle.
Until you go and spend a day in the sun at Royal Ascot it is hard to explain why it is just so special. For me, the standard of racing throughout the week is right out of the top draw. Everyone wants to win there and most trainers will have had their stables Royal Ascot target in mind for months, it’s a conclusion of a long drawn out plan, it’s what keeps stables lads, jockeys, trainers and owners going through the wet, windy and dark days- the hope and dream of a Royal Ascot winner.
The hats, dresses and glamour wouldn’t bother me too much, it’s great to witness but you won’t find me waiting in the line for the Best Dressed Lady Competition!
It’s unoriginal but Gleneagles- He’s a duel 2000 Guineas winner as he has won both the English and Irish versions so far this year in impressive fashion. The Aidan O’Brien trained colt will go off a very short price favourite for the Group 1 St James Palace Stakes on the first day at Ascot.
I loved him last year during an impressive 2yr old campaign, he’s come out this season and won over the mile Guineas trip under Ryan Moore. His attitude is what I love, he will never win a race by a staggering margin as he only ever does enough but that is fine by me- that attitude will stand him in good stead for the future, he wouldn’t be one to burn himself out.
He’s an athlete with a great walk and way of going- the fast ground at Ascot will suit him and I can’t see him being beaten on Day 1.
A less obvious horse is the John Gosden trained Yasmeen. She will hopefully run the Coronation Stakes and I would love to see her go close, I have a real soft spot for the Sea The Stars sired filly and I hope she may have a decent win in her somewhere along the way.
There is a great team here at ATR, we all work side by side with each other, everyone from the vision mixers downstairs in the gallery to the producer and presenters in the office. The editors I work with are amazing, If I have a vision for how I want a feature or promo to look then it’s their job to piece together that idea, little bit by little bit- I can imagine that they would ideally like to pull their hair out when I say (for the 22nd time): “No, sorry, can you change it back to how it was, I don’t like that shot.”!
There are a few nice 2-yr olds who have made eye catching starts to their careers- Round Two over in Ireland has got everyone talking. Already two from two, he is trained by a master in Jim Bolger, it will be interesting to see where he goes next.
Torment, a Richard Hannon trained Dark Angel colt looked a nice type when winning at Windsor, I don’t think he is going to Ascot but he will be winning again before the season is out for sure. It’s early enough that we will see some more decent types coming out the woodwork in the next few weeks and months.
Dick Francis or Jilly Cooper? Jilly Cooper
Royal Ascot or Cheltenham Festival? Cheltenham
Badminton or Burghley? Badminton
Sand or Snow? Sand
Tea or G&T? Tea before midday. G&T after.
Bay or grey? Bay