Author: Dan Mason
Cheltenham Festival 2016
Published: 13:47 06/01/2015
2014 Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Sire De Grugy continues to make positive progress in his recovery for this year's Cheltenham Festival, the nine-year-old Chestnut set to return to action at Newbury next month.
Trainer Gary Moore issued the positive news regarding his stable star, Sire De Grugy having won eight of his last nine outings over the past two years including clinching the £199,325 Queen Mother Champion Chase victory at the Cheltenham Festival in March last year in a comfortable manner.
Moore's winning Chestnut continues to recover well from muscle problems, last seen in public when winning the Celebration Chase at Sandown in April, but the trainer admits that he intends to achieve a preparation run for his top performer in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury on Saturday 7 February.
There were fears the setback could cost the nine-year-old the chance to defend his crown in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase in March, but the recent update points towards the distinct possibilty of a clash in March with Sprinter Sacre, who is due to run in the Sodexo Clarence House Chase at Ascot on 17 January.
Sire De Grugy is still second in the ante-post betting for the 2015 edition of the Champion Chase on 11 March, 5/1 with Racebets to defend his crown behind rival Sprinter Sacre, favourite still at 5/2 with Betfred for success after excelling in schooling sessions following recovery from an irregular heartbeat in December 2013's Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton that forced him to pull up after 14 wins in 17.
Sprinter Sacre's joint owner, Raymond Mould, is more than hopeful after the Gelding's successful session before racing at Newbury last Monday, saying; "It was just magic watching him out there again. He was back to his best and everything went well."
Moore meanwhile said of his own charge: "I couldn't be more pleased with Sire De Grugy. He's exactly where I want him and, fingers crossed, if everything carries on as it is, he'll run in the Game Spirit Chase."
The recovery process now sees Sire De Grugy up to half-speed exercise having cantered for the first time just prior to Christmas, initially due to return in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham's Paddy Power meeting which was denied when he was found to be lame.