Belfast Telegraph

Batman and Robert the support act to Eagles hit

By Billy Weir

I have a confession to make – there are two things that make me leave large steaming mounds more used to being found in a stable behind me – roller coasters and horses.

In fairness, no-one has ever forced me to ride either of these things but when all the talk is of our four-legged friends and who is a favourite ride of Barry's then it's hard not to become a little clammy under the silks.

At The Races' exclusion from broadcasting from Cheltenham means that the Live With Geraghty feature – the Barry in question above – sees presenter Robert Cooper perched on a platform in a car park with the course just about visible.

The high altitude didn't seem to put Geraghty off, as he clambered up for an early morning chat about his ride in the RSA Chase called O'Faolains Boy, but Cooper was a little less sure of himself.

Not vertigo, more tongue-tied, as try as he might he couldn't figure out how to say it and Barry helpfully eased his pain by obliging before Cooper, who must have heard my tuts of disapproval, flummoxed me with talk of horses 'galumphing about in the mud.'

Hands, or hooves, up I'd never heard of this and was so confused the next thing I caught was Geraghty talking about the Trill. I wondered who had brought a budgie but, like Cooper, I'd neglected to consult my Big Boy's Book of Oirish Lingo. No budgies, but thrilling Geraghty showed he could fly when Cooper asked if he would be jumping off the platform, prompting a response of 'it'll be like Batman' and in the blink of an eye he was gone, leaving trusted companion Robert all alone.

Our intrepid hero then reappeared later to win the race but just when the cynics amongst us thought that nice guys never win and that fairytales were a thing of the past, then two came along in the one day.

Channel Four had dispatched Alice Plunkett to the hairdressers to meet the owner of Sire De Grugy, a man called Steve Preston whose family clubbed together to buy him a horse for his 50th birthday.

Fittingly, the horse owned by the Crystal Palace fan won the Queen Mother Chase, flying like an eagle to clinch victory and earn Jamie Moore a guard of honour from his companions in the jockeys' room.

All we need now is the budgie, the eagle and Batman to go and rescue Robert from his perch.

Belfast Telegraph

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