Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Billy on the Box: Derby goes a bit flat for HRH and BBC

Britannia may rule the waves but when it comes to turf I’m afraid to say it is those galloping Gauls who grabbed the glory at The Derby.



The very much British Broadcasting Corporation were out in force at Epsom, Queen Clare Balding, bonnie Prince Willie Carson, courtiers from all parts of the globe and two jesters in John Parrott and Gary Wiltshire.

“Hundreds of thousands here at Epsom and millions around the country and around the world will be hoping to send her victorious, happy and glorious,” CB of GB told us and suddenly we were off on a never to be forgotten ride of patriotism and xenophobia.

There were some nice touches to show that the royals are in touch with the subjects, a behind the scenes look at HRH doing a sweepstake.

The Queen won and looked a little bemused as she stood looking at some notes with her face on it, much as a cow would look at you if you handed it a mince pie.

Even Aussie Jim McGrath was caught up in a Commonwealth zeal as Carlton House was loaded up.

“Could he win the Derby for the Queen? A nation awaits,” he said, and France did.

Pour Moi, ridden by five-year-old Mickael Barzalona, came from so far back I expected Marie Antoinette to climb off the horse.

There may have been champagne on the Champs Elysees, but it was a dose of salts too many at Epsom.

“We have a story, it’s not the story we wanted to tell, but we have a story,” Clare whined. Well tell it then, don’t spend the next half an hour telling us about the third-placed horse and how unlucky the Queen was.

Clare said HRH remained ‘incredibly calm in defeat’. What did she expect to see? Her pulling on a pair of wellingtons, telling her grandsons to dust off the helicopter and muskets and crying ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’ At least she was third, Henry was only fifth.

Even rebellious Scot Willie was crushed.

“The best horse won on the day, I’m afraid to say,” but at last a scapegoat, or horse, was found, with an errant shoe.

“Unbelievable, John, that shoe could have saved the bookies £20?million,” said Wiltshire to Parrott, as from the Royal Box all you hear was ‘Philip, off with their feet.”

But bravo to Barzalona, although it is getting a little tiresome that they win everything.

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