• Cheltenham Festival

Sire De Grugy cruises in Champion Chase

ESPN staff
March 12, 2014
Sire De Grugy, ridden by Jamie Moore, defied doubts about his ability to cope with the Cheltenham track © PA Photos

Sire De Grugy cruised to victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase for his first ever win at the Cheltenham Festival.

The eight-year-old, owned by Steve Preston and trained and ridden by father and son team Gary and Jamie Moore, took advantage of the absence of 2013 winner Sprinter Sacre - out for the remainder of the season following a heart scare in December - to ease to victory by six lengths from Somersby.

Module finished third and 2011 winner Sizing Europe fourth, while second favourite Captain Conan disappointed and was pulled out midway through the race.

"It proves we can do it," said Moore Jr. "I've got a good rapport with this horse, I love him to pieces. It's all down to him.

"It's a great effort by dad as well. He's had no credit this season, as far as I'm concerned, but it's all down to the horse. I love him so much. It's tremendous for all the family."

Success for Sire De Grugy - has now won five out of his last six starts - follows a remarkable story for the Preston family after father Steve bought him with help from his sons and friends to celebrate his 50th birthday. It also ends his Cheltenham hoodoo.

Moore Sr added: "It's something I hoped would happen but it doesn't happen very often. The plan worked out very well.

"The horse is professional and easy to train to a certain extent. He trod on a stone 10 days ago and it was a little worry but it couldn't have gone any better today. I was getting text messages from 6am this morning wishing me good luck."

Earlier in the day, Faugheen, ridden by Ruby Walsh, edged Ballyalton and Rathvinden to the Novice's Hurdle, while O'Faolains Boy took the RSA Chase. Smad Place was second, with Morning Assembly third.

Whisper was victorious in the Coral Cup ahead of AP McCoy-guided Get Me Out Of Here and Bayan.

Following Sire de Grugy's victory, Balthazar King won the Glenfarclas Handicap Chase ahead of Any Currency and Big Shu.

Ballyglasheen won the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle ahead of Clarcam and Goodwood Mirage, while in the final race of Ladies Day, the Champion Bumper, Silver Concorde soared to victory over favourite Shaneshill and third-placed Joshua Lane.

There was more sad news, however, as two more horses were put down following the second day at Cheltenham. Akdam suffered a fractured foreleg in the Handicap Hurdle, while Stack the Deck pulled up lame in the day's last race - the Champion Bumper - with a fractured left foreknee.

Our Conor suffered a fatal fall on the opening day, after which jockey Ruby Walsh was criticised for his comments on the death.

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