Things seem hard this week. The heavy rain they have predicted for the Canberra region started around lunchtime today. It's cool, and grey and gloomy and the rain is falling more heavily to the south, where we live. It is funny how easily the weather can mirror your moods. And the coolness and dampness is in stark contrast to the weekend in Melbourne, which was struck by one of the southern capital's killer heatwaves when I was down for the Blue Diamond Stakes.
When I was watching the long range weather forecast last week, they originally predicted 34 for Melbourne on Saturday, which was a grim enough reading. But they revised it, with cruel accuracy, and we were forced to endure 38 degrees at Caulfield for the Blue Diamond Stakes meeting, which was truly evil.
I'm not a fan of the hot weather, in fact, I despise it. I'm not built for the heat, and the problem with photographing on track is that so much of the exposed areas are made up of the soft red pavers that the horses walk on. These are lovely soft surfaces, but they are as hot as hell, as they collect, and then radiate back, the heat. So I'm sure that the actual temperature in the sun in the mounting yard was actually well over 40 degrees, which is just obscene.
As a result, I wasn't at my most active, and I sought to shoot from positions where I could stand in the shade and away from the heated pavers. The mounting yard at Caulfield at least does allow this, so I ended up finding a little corner at the top of the stairs where I could shoot across to the far side of the mounting yard, and completely shirked my duties in getting cantering shots on the track. I would also only venture out to the edge of the track at the absolute last minute and then head straight back in when I could, with the exception of the Group 1s, which resulted in sweat running down my back. And for a few reasons, it was a very trying day, to say the very least.
The result of the Blue Diamond Stakes though, which is the premier Group 1 race in Victoria for 2 year olds, was a wonderful one. The hot favourite Samaready, trained by the very likeable Caulfield trainer Mick Price, won with such authority. I was so pleased, because Samaready is a Vinery product, who are great supporters of mine, and she is a daughter of my very favourite stallion, a very handsome Black Prince called More Than Ready. It was also a touching victory for the filly's jockey Craig Newitt, who's father was killed in a car accident on Blue Diamond Stakes day 3 years ago, which was, ironically, the only Blue Diamond Stakes meeting that I have ever missed since I started photographing the meeting.