TV View: RTÉ doubters have a proper mare as Colreevy gets one over on the boys

Monkfish and Envoi Allen put in their place after mare’s chances were written off

One of the very best things about Rachael Blackmore after her golden Cheltenham and Aintree achievements was her roll of the eyes whenever a media person asked her to discuss gender things, rather than just her habit of winning lots of races, like the Grand National.

Instead of painting herself as a victim, then, she just preferred to go out and cross the winning post first, instead of harping on about her sport’s tyrannical patriarchy, and such like.

In deference to her mighty self, then, you'd be a bit reluctant to make an issue of the manner in which another lady in horse racing was discussed by pundits, in this case of the RTÉ variety, not least when her (possible) pregnancy was cited as a reason for why she hadn't a snowball's chance of beating Monkfish, Envoi Allen (or Franco De Port) in the Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown.

In fairness to Hugh Cahill and Davy Russell – and this will be acknowledged in the complaint to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland's Gender Bias section – it looked highly likely that Monkfish or Envoi Allen would win the four-horse race, them being a bit nifty thus far in their careers.


But their dismissing of Colreevy’s chances, simply because she’d had a fling with Walk in the Park less than a fortnight before, like that made her some kind of hussy who didn’t morally deserve to win the race, was, frankly, Neanderthal-esque.

Richard Pugh was the first to note that Colreevy had been up to no good of late. "There she is, this is her final ever run, she's been covered by Walk in the Park – what a way to go out if the mare could get up!"

"Yes," said Brian Gleeson, "she was covered nine days ago by Walk in the Park, a heartbeat coming up at the weekend after her visit with him."

Covered? Visit? The language was the stuff of the 1950s, Richard and Brian never once considering that there might actually have been some romance involved, rather that it being a ‘wham, bam, thank you ma’am’ class of a horsey date.

Davy, though, was sceptical. “There’s people shaking their heads at home who are covering mares every day of the week, she can’t be ready for a heartbeat if she was covered nine days ago – it’s 14 days from a covering to a heartbeat.”

Jane Mangan added her considerable expertise on the matter, Ruby Walsh opting to stare at his feet, the only regret that Ted wasn't there to weigh in on the how-long-does-it-take-for-a-horsey-heartbeat-to-emerge after a covering.

But, pregnant or not, Brian told us that Colreevy was rated to beat the lads in the race thanks to her “sex allowance”, which would have been enough to make Rachael’s toes curl.

Hugh: “So, on official ratings she should win this race, but maybe if she was covered by Superman at the weekend she might have a chance – for me, it’s between Monkfish or Envoi Allen, and that’s it.”

Davy: “Well, she could have been covered by Superman. If they’re worried about whether she’s in foal, my experience of Walk in the Park is that he’d get a cavity block in foal. He’s pretty good at his job.”

That cavity block reference will never – ever – be erased.

Davy, though, didn’t entirely rule out the possibility of Colreevy causing a shock, even if he she had a bun in the oven, reminding us that her half brother had finished second in the first race of the evening. Good stock, then, as, no doubt, Colreevy and Walk in the Park’s baby will be.

Still, none of the RTÉ team entertained the notion that she might prevail against the lads.

Hugh: "Some of the great sporting rivalries over the year: Nadal versus Federer, Sonny Liston versus Muhammad Ali, Man United versus Liverpool, I think we have a proper one on the cards coming up next – Monkfish against Envoi Allen!"

And then Colreevy won.

"She's a proper mare," jockey Danny Mullins told Katie Walsh. And a proper mare is what Colreevy's RTÉ doubters had endured. Walk in the Park, no doubt, was sitting at home smoking a cigar. Before getting it on with a cavity block.