Sire De Grugy leaps into Cheltenham contention

 

Racing correspondent

Faint praise has been Sire De Grugy’s lot so far this season, but surely it must be time to acknowledge that he is a two-mile chaser of the highest order, with or without the damning shadow of Sprinter Sacre.

Yesterday’s Clarence House Chase was the eight-year-old’s sixth victory in seven runs, his second Grade One prize, and his most authoritative display to date. And it finally persuaded his trainer, Gary Moore, to commit the star of his stable to a challenge for the divisional crown, the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

With Sprinter Sacre, the highest-rated jumper in training, currently sidelined after cardiac problems and Sire De Grugy on an obvious upward roll in his second season over fences, bookmakers certainly believe the guard may be about to change. The reigning king is still an odds-on favourite for the Cheltenham Festival prize, but a drifting one, and yesterday’s Ascot hero is now as short as 2-1.

“He’s got to go for the Champion Chase now,” said Moore. “I’ve got nearly two months to freshen him up; he’ll have a break for a couple of weeks then I’ll bring him back for the Cheltenham race. He now deserves to be in it.”

Moore’s son Jamie, in the saddle for all 12 of Sire De Grugy’s victories, has done more than any behind the scenes to calm and channel the chestnut’s feisty tendencies. Yesterday his mount settled sweetly behind the solid pace set by Kauto Stone and Hidden Cyclone, the ease with which he was travelling exemplified by the leap at the third last that took him from third to first in the air without apparent effort. Another exuberant clearance at the last sealed an easy 11-length success.

“Some of the jumps he put in were just spectacular,” said his rider. “He was gaining a length, gaining a length every time. I’m not saying he’ll beat that other horse. But now I’ll say he just might.”

At Haydock, Melodic Rendezvous, who had pulled a muscle when disappointing behind My Tent Or Yours at Newcastle in November, bounced back to his best to take the Champion Hurdle Trial. On his favoured testing ground the Jeremy Scott-trained eight-year-old beat Ptit Zig by four-and-a-half-lengths, but is judged a 20-1 shot for the real thing at Cheltenham.

Numerically the day’s plaudits went to trainer Evan Williams, with a cross-card five-timer at Taunton and Haydock. The pair at the latter venue were both ridden by apprentice Conor Ring, including the Peter Marsh Chase winner, Wychwoods Brook.

 

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'