Mug's Game: A perfect line about Envoi Allen from a rising star of RTE’s racing coverage

Mug's Game: A perfect line about Envoi Allen from a rising star of RTE’s racing coverage
Davy Russell aboard Envoi Allen. Picture: PA

Here’s what Jane Mangan, a rising star of RTE’s racing coverage, said about Envoi Allen at a recent media gig. “He’s what it would be if I described my perfect horse to a sculptor or a dream maker.”

What a line. What a woman. What a horse (unbeaten to date). He’s all the rage for the opener on Day Two, having been smashed from 5/4 last night into 4/7. The necessities demanded by (a) common sense and (b) not having a five-figure sum to play with impose a watching brief. 

For a small interest, and because one bookie is offering money back if your quadruped finishes second, third, fourth or fifth, here’s a fiver each way on Easywork - Gordon, Rachael, winner of three of its last four outings – at 12/1.

There’s an animal in the race called The Big Breakaway. There’s another animal in it called The Big Getaway. Most confusing. How did this happen? One can understand a name like Hoof Hearted (say it aloud…) getting past the naming people, as was the case a few years back, but this is daft.

Anyway, either The Big Breakaway or The Big Getaway leads coming down the hill from Easywork and Envoi Allen and rounding the home turn is threatening to break away/get away altogether. 

Upon which Davy Russell shakes the reins; Envoi Allen goes from cantering to 60mph in a few strides and it’s all over.

While whether Michaelangelo will return to try his hand at a marble representation of Envoi Allen has yet to be established, full marks go to the stable lass – is the term still permissible in this day and age? – who has her nails done in a dazzling combination of the owner’s red, white and blue. Most artistic. 

As for me, I collect my place money on Easywork, who finishes a well merited second, (itals) and (close itals) get my win fiver back. Shopping around for value doesn’t apply solely to the phone, electricity and gas people, folks.

Having seen him win at Ascot a few weeks back, and also being a Steve Earle fan, I reinvest on Copperhead in the next, the nagging worry being that the going was bottomless that day. I should listen more to these nagging worries; however soft the ground might be today it’s still too fast for Copperhead, who’s well adrift as Champ comes from nowhere to cut down Minella Indo and Allaho in the final strides for an improbable win.

Afterwards Brian Gleeson collars JP McManus, the successful owner, for a few words. 

I’m still not quite sure how they got onto the subject but very soon they’re talking about the 1973 All Ireland final and JP – apparently he’s a big Limerick fan; was anyone else aware of this? – is sending good wishes to Joe McKenna. Nice touch.

With the 2.50, the Coral Cup, looking far too complicated to repay a study of the formbook, I take the easy way out. Champagne Well has been backed from 20/1 into 9s, a development to provoke a hmmmm if ever there was one. Nod, wink, blind man etc. 

I stick on a couple of euro each way and Champagne Well is bang in the firing line when he blunders his chance away at the second last.

A general view of the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle during day two of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire
A general view of the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle during day two of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire

I have no interest in the five-runner Queen Mother Champion Chase. Neither, I presume, have many other people following the news that Chacun Pour Soi has scratched. 

With Altior also out it’s a production of Hamlet without two princes. It ought to be a penalty kick for Defi Du Seuil but he’s being scrubbed along from halfway and Politologue wins decisively.

Winning the Queen Mother was one item on JP McManus’s bucket list, he’d revealed earlier. It still is. Instead he ends up having to settle – how bad – for merely four winners on the day after his French-trained Easyland has too much for Tiger Roll in the cross-country chase and Aramax wins the Fred Winter.

It has been a better day for JP than it has for E McE. I ponder scraping together my remaining cents to have a go at Appreciate It, the 15/8 favourite in the bumper, before I come to my senses and remember my own strictures about not chasing losses and looking for value for money. 

I’ve seen a mention somewhere for Third Time Lucki, so on this highly scientific basis it’s on with three euro each way at 16/1.

Two things happen. Appreciate It is swallowed up close to home by his stable companion Ferny Hollow; Third Time Lucki finishes fourth and I collect on the place.

Two days gone, two more to come. I’m slightly down but far from out. A little luck will turn those places into victories. If Jane Mangan, or even Michaelangelo, has any further thoughts they’d be welcome.

Balance after Day Two: €32

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