Flat racing is one of the many things I knew little about a few months ago. However, as the months have gone on, I have learnt about the pure art that is flat racing.
Isabel reached out to me in May this year and told me how she was embarking on this journey and how she was going to race in the Magonlia Cup at Goodwood in just a few months. I had only recently learned about National Hunt and Point to Point racing. I hadn't even begun to think about what flat racing could comprehend. I guessed throwing myself at the deep end once again was the only way I could learn at the speed I needed. I am not one to pick up a book to learn about something, so it meant various trips to Barbury Estate, Kingsclere, and to observe Isabel training at Eve Houghton Johnston. Throughout my photography journey in general, people have been all too accommodating, and this again is another example. I soon learned, and I soon found yet another passion.
I started photographing Isabel on the gallops at the end of May. She told me about her path into riding horses, which was relative to myself. She had worked diligently to get to the place she had in the fashion industry, which I hugely respected, and she was now working tremendously hard to prepare for the race. I visited Isabel at Eve Houghton Johnston's three times before the big day, and every time there was a smile on her face, despite the 5am start to get her there on time for the first lot of the day. It was a pure delight to watch her in training.
The day came and a quick text exchange the night before assured me she was riding the beloved TinHat - a horse that she loved and felt safe and happy on. Going into an immense race like this, it plays a massive part. Isabel had kindly given me two tickets for the Ladies Day, but there was something about it that I couldn't get a handle on. I had not been through the intense journey that Isabel had, but I did feel a bit of loyality to this race. I had to photograph it, just this one race before I could enjoy my Pimms and strawberries.
I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to watch this group of ladies come together to raise money for such a fantastic charity. For Isabel, the race might not have all gone to plan, but she finished amongst the other riders, and she had a smile on her face afterwards. Together, the group raised over £200k for charity. A huge achievement... the question is, will they continue to ride out?!
All photographs are copyrighted to Hattie Austin Sport Photography