By Simon Jackson.
Sire De Grugy bids to secure back to back victories in the Grade 1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday.
The French-bred gelding proved to be far too good for his 10 rivals in this race last year where he was ridden confidently throughout by Jamie Moore, a son of the gelding’s trainer Gary Moore.
There he was held up in the early stages before improving four out, taking the lead soon after and being driven clear to score by six lengths in the two mile chasers’ championship.
The nine-year-olds return intended comeback this season 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.
Sire De Grugy’s preparation for this year’s race was further hampered when he unseated on his belated return in the Price Rush Chase at Newbury last month. But he atoned for the mishap with a remarkable weight-carrying victory at Chepstow in late February.
Giving upwards of 20lb to his rivals, the son of My Risk stormed to the lead three fences from home after jumping soundly throughout.
He continued the momentum to extend the advantage and score by seven lengths, the manner of the victory delighting his jockey.
“They went a proper gallop trying to stretch us. It was a very impressive performance. He was jumping so well,” Jamie Moore said immediately after the Chepstow victory.
“Halfway up the home straight I was buzzing because he was giving me such a wonderful feel. He’s right back where he was at this time last year.
“He was a little tired after the last fence, but that was because of the big weight. He goes to Cheltenham with every chance and I certainly wouldn’t swap him.”
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