This week #AscotAsks Rishi Persad, Sports Presenter, about his passion for horse racing and what he’s most looking forward to seeing at Royal Ascot this year.
Name: Rishi Persad
Location: Cobham, Surrey
Occupation: Sports Presenter
1. How long have you been involved with horseracing and how did you get into the sport?
Since I can remember. My dad owned, bred and raced horses out in the Caribbean and I have always had some involvement.
2. What was your career path to becoming a presenter?
I used to work for a PR company, went on holiday and came back to discover that my boss had written a letter of recommendation to the the newly formed Attheraces in 2002 - I suspect he'd had enough of me in the office - and I had a screen test. Unbelievably ATR offered me a job.
3. Alongside horseracing you also present other sports, do you have a favourite and why?
It would be hard to say favourite as I am very lucky to work on so many different events such as Royal Ascot, the Derby, Grand National, Wimbledon and the Olympics, but what I would say is that the sports I feel most comfortable with are racing and cricket.
4. What are the highs and lows of your job?
Highs are being able to attend so many superb events and witness some memorable sporting moments around the world. The lows would be the time spent away from my family.
5. For someone who is interested in sports presenting as a career, specifically horseracing, what are your top tips?
Always be ready to take your opportunity, watch as much racing as you can and be prepared to back your opinion with a reasoned argument. Remember that television is not life and death so enjoy yourself or at least let people watching believe you are enjoying what you are doing.
6. What aspect of horseracing are you most excited about at the moment?
The middle distance championship races this year could be sensational if Frankel steps up in trip successfully and faces the prospect of competition from the likes of So You Think, Camelot, Carlton House and the fillies Danedream, Snow Fairy etc. Who knows? He may have a real race one day.
7. How do you prepare in the lead up before presenting on TV?
Its mostly about making sure I am as fully prepared for whatever event I am covering and then I try and keep the nerves under control.
8. What has been the memorable interview you have ever given and why?
I've done a few that certainly stick in the memory - Tony McCoy after he won the Grand National where I got caught up in the whole emotion of the moment myself. But away from racing I remember once interviewing Venus Williams at Wimbledon and she made reference to an obscure american comedy from the early 80's which she thought I had never heard of. The look on her face when I sung the theme tune to her was priceless.
9. Have you ever had any embarrassing or particular amusing anecdotes that can share with us from the many interviews you have delivered over the years?
Oh there are loads of embarrassing moments. I cringe when I think of them now. One of my most notorious gaffes on air came early on in my tv career at Goodwood when I was asked to nominate a horse that would definitely not win a race. Boldly I chose the outsider Omaha City. He duly won at 50/1.
10. Finally, what are you most looking forward to at Royal Ascot 2012?
I always enjoy the races for two-years-olds, the stars of the future.