TV View: Take a break says Tubridy but Blackmore rides on

Alarm for Balding as Chelsea winner Emma Hayes turns the airwaves blue

Winner alright...legendary jockey, Rachael Blackmore on Mr Tambourine Man, in the Killarney Races May Meeting on Sunday. Photograph: Valerie O’Sullivan

Winner alright...legendary jockey, Rachael Blackmore on Mr Tambourine Man, in the Killarney Races May Meeting on Sunday. Photograph: Valerie O’Sullivan

 

At the end of their chat on Friday’s Late Late Show, Ryan Tubridy told Rachael Blackmore to enjoy her break, him, no more than ourselves, under the impression that she could now enjoy a little staycation after the completion of a season like no other. And then she won on Call Me Freddie in Mallow on Saturday before helping herself to a treble in Killarney come Sunday. As breaks go, that was a brief enough one.

It certainly didn’t last longer than the highlights of her 2021 that were shown before the chat commenced, so many were there to pack in you half anticipated Ryan saying “thanks folks, that’s all we have time for tonight” once the montage ended.

What came close-ish to topping her Grand National win was, we learned, a congratulatory tweet from, of all people, Ringo Starr, Blackmore recalling when the family went on camping holidays to France in her youth, “the Beatles were always on in the car”. If you’d told her then the drummer would be saluting her for winning the National in a couple of decades time, she’d have suspected you were helping yourself to hallucinogenic drugs.

She, of course, put her magical run of success down to pure luck. This contrasted quite sharply with what we learnt about Honeysuckle’s response to her perfect season when, with the assistance Blackmore, all she did was win.

It was at Punchestown recently that RTÉ’s Brian Gleeson had a chat with Henry de Bromhead about the horse, it being a little disappointing to hear that her success had gone to her head, Honeysuckle having turned in to a massive diva.

“Is she a little bit of a madam?” asked Brian. “Yes,” said Henry. “She’s a bit of a cow in her stable. As soon as you even look at her she starts trying to kick or bite you – she seems to really hate me if I go near her, so we all just leave her to own devices.”

For those of us whose closest brush with sporting greatness was hitting six sixes in a single over against the Netherlands in Stick Cricket it’s probably impossible to imagine how you could remain level-headed after achieving Honeysuckle’s level of success, but the important thing is to at least try.

She could learn from Blackmore, her humility a significant part of her charm, her courage too as a jockey. Which brought to mind Ted Walsh’s chat with Lisa O’Neill at Punchestown.

Ted: “What’s the worst injury you got?”

Lisa: “Touch wood I’ve been lucky enough, I haven’t had too many very bad ones – I broke my collar bone, fingers, shoulders, but nothing too serious.”

Blackmore said the very same – “touch wood I’ve been very lucky, I haven’t had anything too serious” – but Ted recalled seeing her take a fall in Clonmel when “she broke her nose and her teeth and everything else – she’s an iron woman. I’m delighted that I’m alive to see her”.

“I just love winning,” Blackmore told Tubridy.

“I just love winning,” Emma Hayes told Clare Balding.

They might come from very different sporting worlds, but Blackmore and Hayes have a whole heap in common. Especially that love of winning bit.

Hayes’ Chelsea side completed the second leg of a potential quadruple on Sunday, her Chelsea side beating Reading 5-0 to retain their Super League title. While her team has been a joy to watch this season, her post-match interviews have been just as entertaining, not least when she leaves BT Sport’s Clare Balding in a cold sweat with the fruitiness of her language.

“I worked my whole life for today and I’m so ****ing proud of them players,” she said after her bunch beat Bayern Munich to reach the Champions League final. “I’m so ****ing happy,” she then mimed after Clare had a conniption.

“I will remind you, Emma,” said Clare, “that we’re live on BT, so NO SWEARING.” She was on her best behaviour, though, saluting her players for following her order that they behave like geese, fly in a “V” formation and “honk hard at the person in front of you”. Howard Wilkinson tried this goosey tactic at Sunderland many years back and they got relegated, but Hayes’ geese evidently honked harder. “Thankfully no birds dropped out of the formation,” she said.

After beating Bayern, Clare reminded her she was the first female manager to take a team to the Champions League final in 12 years. “I don’t think about that, I just think about winning, I just want to win, I love winning!”

If Rachael wasn’t so busy in Killarney and was able to watch, she’d have smiled. What’s good for the goose, and all that.

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