We recently had the privilege of an exclusive interview with At The races cameraman and all round good guy Jonathan Rowley.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m Jonathan but known to most in racing as Red, that inventive nick name was given to me by Jason Weaver not long after I started this job and it just seem to stick. I work for SIS Live predominantly operating the At The Races presenter camera. You will see me in the paddock getting shots of the horses and filming interviews with connections pre and post race.
How did you get into horse racing?
I always wanted to be a TV Cameraman and after graduating I worked my way up the ranks starting in Shopping TV then on to ITV regional News. At this point I decided it was time to escape the dark TV gallery and venture out into Outside Broadcast and I got a job with SIS Live. When I started working on At The Races for SIS Live I had no interest in the sport what so ever however I soon got the bug. You have to have a interest in the sport you are filming to be any good at the job I think. Almost 11 years on I’m a huge fan.
Most memorable moment so far?
Most memorable race was Saxon Warrior winning the Racing Post trophy and making history for Aidan O’Brien. I was on the ITV Presenter Camera on this occasion. The atmosphere in the paddock during and after the race was electric. We were the first to interview the great man after the race, I had to fight my way through the media scrum with the Camera on my shoulder to get the shot. It was a real buzz and a privilege to be there
What’s is it like working for At The Races?
Working for ATR is great, I genuinely love it. What’s not to like? Getting paid to go to the races every day, can’t really call that work. It keeps you fit as well, chasing after Luke Harvey and Matt Chapman all day lugging a 22lbs Camera around on your shoulder is a great workout.
What does a normal day consist of doing?
A normal day on ATR for me would be arriving at the racecourse at 8am, setting up the Camera and associated equipment then carrying out mic checks etc to make sure ATR are getting my camera pictures and audio. Next, I would usually meet the presenter in the press room around 09.30 where I would get them wired up so that they can hear the producer in the ATR gallery and Studio Presenter both back in Milton Keynes. After a brief discussion about the upcoming day’s events we go live at 10am into the Racing News bulletin. It’s pretty much non stop then till after the last race of the day when we will shoot a roundup of the days events. Once that’s done the presenters are out of there quicker than a 5f sprinter, then myself and the rest of the crew de rig the camera kit and on to the next racecourse we go.
Funniest moment on camera?
My funniest moment would have to be when I shot an interview with Matt Chapman and Evander Holyfield. At the end of the interview we wanted to mock up Holyfield punching Chapman out of shot however in the rehearsal that punch came worryingly close to Matts face, his reaction was priceless. Very funny…sorry Matt
Ambitions for the future?
Racing broadcasting is going through some very exciting times at the moment, I am very much looking forward to the launch of Sky Sports Racing and hope that I can still be involved with racing for many years to come.
How do you unwind away from work?
To unwind I’m a fair weather golfer and love to get out to The White Isle of Ibiza once a year. This year is a special one because it’s my best mates Stag and I’m the best man. Wish us luck.
Give us a horse to follow?
A horse to follow. I should really leave this to the experts in front of the Camera, however, as one of our top directors reminds us at the start of every race meeting ‘you don’t have to be good at this game, just lucky’ If it’s got Red or Ginge in the name, or Sam Twiston Davis is riding it I’ll back it
Follow Jonathan on twitter @Red_Cameraman