The Jockey Club South West Kalendar Magazine 2019-20

interview | ed chamberlin

BAFTA winning presenter ED CHAMBERLIN talks about his love for Cheltenham, ITV team banter, and that unforgettable golden hour at The Festival™ Presented by Magners in 2019 WORDS SUE DANDO PHOTOS GLENN DEARING ANCHORMAN

C heltenham is unique, it’s like nothing else in sport. Nothing comes close to it.” Ed Chamberlin is, without doubt, passionate about The Cheltenham Festival. Even before he got the job fronting ITV Racing, he would make the pilgrimage to Prestbury Park every year “meeting up with the same people, on the grass where the tarmac meets the rail. We had a lucky bin where we used to watch from…” Today, we meet at his house, where we sit in the garden on a gorgeous summer morning. He is courteous from the off, chatting affably about any subject he’s confronted with. No surprise then that the man with the microphone is so good at his job. Erudite and charming, opinionated but able to back up his thinking with facts, he’s a man whose enthusiasm for the sport of racing is self-evident. Occasionally leaning down to ruffle the ears of his black Labrador, Hebe, sprawled on the patio by

his side, Ed’s assessment of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival is as vivid as it gets, taking us back to the very heart of the action. “I think this festival was unique in that there was one massive highlight on the Thursday – the golden hour – that will go down as one of the great hours of sport,” he enthuses. “It was very special for so many different reasons. There was a buzz at Cheltenham in the morning, but that was mainly around Andrew Gemmell and Paisley Park in the Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle with everyone thinking what a wonderful story that was. What we didn’t realise is what was going to happen before then with Bryony [Frost] and Frodon, which was just extraordinary. Cheltenham always has a great atmosphere, but that hour had a buzz around it like I’ve never experienced before.” Anyone who’s watched ITV Racing’s coverage will be familiar with how unafraid Ed is to get emotional on air, and he admits that he struggled to keep it together as the afternoon unfolded. “Later that evening I said, ‘I think that was some of the worst presenting I’ve done’, but I couldn’t really care less because I was so caught up in the emotion of it all. Trying to find the words was quite hard, but Des Lynam, who I think is the best sports presenter there’s ever been, says the magic of it is that sometimes less is more. I was fully aware that the pictures were telling the story. Bryony’s interview after her race was part poet, part orator…

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