TV View: ‘Is there anything I can ask you that I haven’t already’

Blackmore becomes a fixture in studio while Furlong breaks out his victory dance

Rachael Blackmore celebrates (just) one of her victories –  with Quilixios at Cheltenham. Photograph: INPHO/Dan Abraham

Rachael Blackmore celebrates (just) one of her victories – with Quilixios at Cheltenham. Photograph: INPHO/Dan Abraham

 

What with her fondness for winning horse races, it’s probable that Rachael Blackmore was a bit disappointed to be beaten into second in Friday’s Gold Cup, but you’d guess the one consolation for her was that she wouldn’t have to talk to ITV’s Matt Chapman again.

It’s not, evidently, that she has anything against the fella, but there are only so many times two people can meet up before running out of things to say.

“Hi Matt,” she said, in a “you again?” kind of way after her sixth winner of the Cheltenham Festival, by now having spent almost as much time in his company as she has in Honeysuckle’s.

“Is there anything I can ask you that I haven’t already this week,” he said, but she couldn’t really think of any issue they hadn’t covered, Matt having already failed to draw her in to a conversation about glass ceilings and the like, her preferring to walk the walk – or gallop the gallop – rather than engaging in the talking lark.

So he enquired about her breeding. “Tell us about your parents because I’d imagine their genes will want to be cloned by a lot of people straight away,” he said.

Rachael didn’t know quite how to reply to that, possibly fearing Matt would go on to enquire about stud fees, so she just saluted her Sire and Dam who were back home in Tipperary and feeling proud as punch.

“It’s been an absolute fairytale, my phone has literally melted,” Eimir Blackmore told Oli Bell and Chris Hughes in ITV’s Social Stable when she was zoomed in from home, going on to reminisce about her daughter’s earliest days in the saddle.

Ed Chamberlin, meanwhile, was reading out a letter he’d received from a man called Robert. “Dear ITV racing team, My late wife Janet used to own a property near Fethard in Co Tipperary. I well remember a little girl on a pony jumping one of the larger hedges in great style. I was standing on the landing side of the hedge and I could only just see over. So I enquired who the little girl was. I was told, ‘that’s Rachael Blackmore’.”

Ruby Walsh and Tony McCoy are steely auld boys, but even they had something in their eye, no more than the rest of us.

“That makes it Great Britain, five; Rachael Blackmore, six,” said Ed. “She’s beating you on her own,” Tony chuckled. Add in that 32-18 triumph in Dublin on Saturday and truly, we gave their boys a hell of a beating last week.

‘A little bit shocked’

The Virgin Media panel hadn’t been enormously optimistic about our hopes against England, but Darren Cave, complete with his Ron Burgundy ’tache, reckoned the Irish would be quite up for it having been rubbed up the wrong way by Eddie Jones midweek. As if Eddie would do that class of thing.

“He said that Ireland are a tenacious side and a tenacious country, which was a small bit patronising,” said Darren, detecting that Eddie feared Ireland as much as, say, Tyson Fury would fear a punch from, say, Ryan Tubridy.

Ronan O’Gara, though, (wearing a jacket and tie more commonly seen on daytime quiz show hosts in the 1970s), was nervous.

Half-time. “I think I’m a little bit shocked,” he said, Ireland having played tenacious Ole Ole Ole rugby to take a 20-6 lead in to the break. “You ask yourself how are England going to get back in to it,” he wondered out loud, to which the entire viewership roared: “STOP!”.

The second half wasn’t without its blips, not least Bundee Aki’s red card, but there were more highlights than lowlights, among them Tadhg Furlong’s victory dance when Ireland won a penalty at a key moment. “He could nearly jump a fence in Cheltenham with that left leg the way it flew up,” as Alan Quinlan put it.

They might have more vaccines than us, but sure look, we beat them in the Six Nations. The only letdown in the whole afternoon was Sinead Kissane’s failure to ask Rob Henshaw, the mighty man of the match, “tell us about your parents because I’d imagine their genes will want to be cloned by a lot of people straight away”.

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