Horses for courses
"Watch the eyes! Watch the eyes!" Those were the words of BBC horse racing pundit Richard Pitman before he pushed me out of the way of the galloping Tidal Bay at Aintree.
I was watching the Grand National from inside the track beside one of the fortified plastic railings by the start. The field had completed the first circuit and, while the rest of the horses were quite keen on turning left to go round again, Tidal Bay had had enough. He crashed through the railing - five feet away from us - before being subdued by a quick-witted marshall waving a massive towel in front of his face.
We took the decision to present Football Focus from the Grand National meeting a few weeks ago. Personally - and I know many agree with me - I love taking the show on the road and pushing the boundaries a little. Being out of the studio brings a freshness and vitality that is hard to replicate on the sofa.
I know that some people have little time for horse racing but 90% of the programme was still football and our guests, Steve Claridge and Rafa Benitez, offered some real insights into the issues of the week.
I had arrived at Aintree early on Friday morning. I remember from my time of covering the Grand National for the BBC that the horse racing team always held a meeting at 9am and that bacon and egg sandwiches were usually on the menu. Naturally, I made sure I turned up to listen to their plans for the day.
I had received a phone call the previous night from one of the BBC editors in charge of the horse racing coverage. Suzi Perry was unable to make it and they wanted to know if I could step in on Saturday and help out with the coverage.
My first job was to present the Aintree Style Contest on Friday - Ladies Day. There are always some stunning beauties out there but also one or two who have confused the bottle of fake tan with the tub of Nutella! The three finalists were particularly snazzy but it was the girl in the middle of this photo who eventually went home with the prizes.
On Saturday, as soon as Focus ended, I legged it to the production office to change into a suit for the BBC's coverage of the Grand National. I grabbed a brace of Bourbons and headed out into the 70,000-strong crowd.
My job was to get in amongst the punters, a task that can go horribly wrong. That is why I follow these simple rules:
1) Tell the viewers where you are - the finish line or by the first fence. A little bit of geography goes a long way.
2) Prepare the ground. Make sure you have a chat with the people you are interviewing before you interview them on air. Tell them roughly what you are looking to achieve.
3) Think of something to say at the start of the interview and something to say at the end. The middle will take care of itself.
4) Be interested in what people are telling you. If you're not bothered what they are saying, how do you expect the viewers to be?
After nearly five-and-a-half hours of live television, I celebrated with another brace of Bourbons before starting the long trip home to watch the Masters golf on television. Shame Rory McIroy did not win.
Anyway, this week's Football Focus is shaping up nicely.
We have got former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher talking football ahead of the all-Mancunian FA Cup semi-final, while Adam Johnson will give us a view from inside the City dressing room. To preview the second semi-final between Bolton and Stoke, we have spoken to Kevin Davies and Matthew Etherington.
If you've got any questions about this blog, last week's show, this week's show, a brace of Bourbons, or anything else, then let me know and I shall try to respond. In the mean time you can find me on Twitter at twitter.com/danwalkerbbc