Dunwoody steals victory in BMRA photo finish

Rotherwas HQ visit leads to award-winning snap

Three-time Champion Jump Jockey-turned-photographer Richard Dunwoody was rarely ever beaten in a photo finish, particularly at the biggest meetings.

Injury may have forced a premature retirement from the saddle, yet the Northern Irishman has not lost his competitive streak, and his latest triumph in a photo finish brought more than a smile to the dual Grand National-winning rider.

Dunwoody was invited to take pictures of Hereford Quarries’ Lugg Bridge site and the Eastside Recycling Plant in Rotherwas, for use in Wye Valley Group literature and social media – and the quality and range of images produced immediately had people talking.

Dan Stanton, Wye Valley Metals’ Commercial and Operations Assistant, subsequently entered one of Dunwoody’s shots (main, above) in the monthly British Metals & Recycling Association’s monthly photographic competition – and he won (probably by a furlong).

Winner’s enclosure: Dunwoody showed his metal to beat fellow snappers in the BMRA comp

The BMRA’s Kate Magill announced: “I am delighted to say that your image has been selected as June’s winner of the photography competition sponsored by Recycled Products Ltd. Your prize can be either a £20 voucher, or some people choose to donate their prize to the President’s Charity, which this year is Guide Dogs.”

Dunwoody remains racing royalty. He rode the winner of the National twice – West Tip (1986) and Miinnehoma (1994) – and is equally famous for his partnership with Desert Orchid, upon whom he won the King George VI Chase four times.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning rider was forced to retire in 2000 with arm and shoulder injuries.

In his second life, Dunwoody has been a tireless charity campaigner, an intrepid explorer and is an award-winning photographer.

Glory days: Dunwoody partnered Miinnehoma (left) and Desert Orchid (right) to big-race success

In 2008, he and American explorer Doug Stoup reached the South Pole following a 48-day, 680-mile trek, carrying their own equipment and supplies, while raising money for Sparks, Spinal Research and Racing Welfare. Their route followed one which had previously been attempted by Ernest Shackleton and was the first successful completion of that route on foot. Each man lost over two stones in weight!

A year later, ‘Woody’ completed a 1000 Mile Challenge for charity and walked the same mile 1,000 consecutive times in Newmarket for 1,000 consecutive hours, with the last mile alongside his hero, Lester Piggott. The feat was achieved in just eight hours short of six weeks – the equivalent distance of travelling from London to Lisbon – while raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society, Racing Welfare and Spinal Research.

Star treks: (l to r) Conquering the South Pole, with Lester at Newmarket, and in Japan

And in 2017, Dunwoody embarked on a walk across Japan, covering a distance of 2,000 miles, to raise money for cancer charity Sarcoma UK. His trek, from Cape Sata on the southern tip of Kyushu to Cape Soya, the northernmost part of Hokkaido, took 101 days.

Yet when he is not raising money for good causes, the Madrid-based 60-year-old makes his living as a professional photographer, having studied at the prestigious Spéos Photography School in Paris.

So it was, he brought his skills (three days after running the Zaragoza marathon for the Motor Neurone Disease Association) to Hereford Quarries and ERF.

The results were as expected: exceptional.

Showing his metal: Dunwoody’s exceptional talent behind the lens is clear for all to see

“It was a real pleasure to come over and see what Andrew and Sue Howell have built,” said Dunwoody. “It was fascinating to take pictures of something a little different and I really enjoyed meeting everyone.

“They were two pretty full-on days, but I really enjoyed it, and I would love to come back and do another someday, as and when required.

Famous friends: Dunwoody was delighted to meet some of the stars from the Wye Valley Group

“It’s also cool that one of the pictures I took piqued the interest of the judges at BMRA.

“It was obviously a stunted shot, in a controlled and safe environment, and I wanted something for dramatic effect. Meric Gardner is an exceptionally skilled operator of the grab machinery and he was brilliant at showing the sheer power of these machines, which blew me away.

“Well done to Daniel for sending the picture into the competition. It was a lovely surprise to win!”

Naturally enough, Dunwoody donated the prize to the Guide Dogs charity.

You will be able to see much of Woody’s work in social media posts and in WVG literature over the coming weeks and months.