Sire De Grugy: Gary Moore “not massively concerned” about the goingPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Moore thrilled with Champion favourite Sire
GARY MOORE cannot be confident Sire De Grugy will win the Queen Mother Champion Chase today, but he is confident he goes to post in the best possible shape.
Cheltenham seconds to two rivals who reoppose need explaining away, and the drying ground, described as good, good to soft in places, is hardly a plus, but the trainer can account for both defeats and is “not massively concerned” about the going.
Moore has taken last season’s classy novice, who tops the Champion Chase betting at 10-3, to new heights this season, when a three-and a-quarter-length Cheltenham second to Kid Cassidy, who was receiving 10lb, has been the only reverse in a five-race campaign that has embraced wins in key trials at both Sandown and Ascot.
Having freshened up the eight-year-old since that last success almost two months ago, Moore could not be happier with him. He said: “His blood test has come back with no negatives and he’s worked well, schooled well and eaten up well. It’s all gone to plan.”
Of those two Cheltenham defeats and the ground concerns, he added: “When Captain Conan beat him he got to the front sooner than he likes, and when he was beaten by Kid Cassidy I read the race wrong and he lost his confidence after a mistake at the second fence.
“I’d agree he’s a better horse on softer ground, but it won’t be any worse than when he won the Celebration Chase, his novice chase at Stratford, or even the Tingle Creek, so it’s not a massive concern.”
The going was changed to good, good to soft in places after racing on Tuesday and it remained that way on Wednesday morning.
Clerk of the course Simon Claisse said: “We had a dry night and I’ve left the going description as it was. The good to soft is primarily in the chute and I would say it is marginally quicker than the backend of yesterday.”
The cross-country course, used for the Glenfarclas Handicap Chase at 4.00, is good to soft, soft in places and the weather is set to stay dry with temperatures increasing throughout the day.
Cheltenham: Chase and hurdle - good, good to soft in places; Cross-country - good to soft, soft in places
Huntingdon: Good to soft
Noel Fehily has a 34 per cent strike-rate (+£17.95) when riding for Paul Nicholls in the last five seasons. The pair team up with Just A Par (2.05) and Hinterland (3.20)
Big Shu has form figures of 12112 in Cross Country races and attempts to win the Glenfarclas Cross Country for the second year running (4.00 Cheltenham)
Four of the last seven Fred Winter (4.40) winners were fillies. Azza is the only female runner this time
A pound on all runners trained by Willie Mullins in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper (5.15) is showing a profit of £49.25 (eight wins from 49 runs)