By Simon Jackson.
Sire De Grugy will face a maximum of five rivals on his belated return in the Grade 2 Betfair Price Rush Chase at Newbury on Saturday.
The winner of the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last year has not raced since April 2014 after his intended comeback was delayed due to a hip injury.
Trainer Gary Moore had initially earmarked the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham in November as the starting point for Sire De Grugy, who last season won six of his seven starts that included four at Grade 1 level.
The nine-year-old, best-priced at 9-2 but as short as 3-1 for the 2015 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, has pleased his trainer ahead of his comeback in the Price Rush Chase (registered at the Game Spirit Chase) which will be shown live on Channel 4.
“Sire De Grugy did his final piece of serious work this morning ahead of Saturday’s Game Spirit and I’m delighted with what I saw,” Moore said on his Betway blog earlier this week.
“He’s ready for Newbury now but, don’t get me wrong, he’ll come on for the run and there’s still a little bit left to work on.
“But he’s fit enough to do himself justice. Jamie [Moore – jockey and trainer’s son] rode him this morning and he was really pleased. We covered bits of the gallops overnight and after a power harrowing the gallop was riding quite deep.
“Sire De Grugy will do nothing between now and the race. It was reopened yesterday and we’ll know later who’s taking us on, but I’m not worried about a small field as long as there’s some pace.”
In other news, trainer Chris Gordon is hopeful of a good run in the two miles and one furlong Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle at Newbury from bottom-weight Lightentertainment, the winner of five of his past six starts.
“I did not think Lightentertainment would get in but he has and we must take our chance,” Gordon said of his charge who was last seen out when winning at Cheltenham last month.
“It was a good performance at Cheltenham. He got a little bit tapped for toe coming down the hill but Tom [Cannon – jockey] was not hard on him, let him find his feet and he came home really well.
“In an ideal world, I wish it was over a furlong or two further on Saturday. I’m sure they will go a real good gallop in a race like that and we know our horse will be doing his best work at the finish.
“The betting tells you how competitive it is but our horse is really healthy and it would be great if he can run into a place.”
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.