Welsh Champion Hurdle option for star chaser Sire De Grugy
Sire De Grugy, hero of the 2014 Queen Mother Champion Chase, could kick off his season over hurdles, with the Ladbrokes Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las among the races being considered for his return by trainer Gary Moore.
Despite a curtailed season last term, Sire De Grugy still managed a handicap chase victory at Ascot last November and came within a length of adding a sixth Grade 1 to his CV when second to Un De Sceaux in the Tingle Creek the following month.
Moore would ideally start the 11-year-old back in handicap company over fences this season, but in search of soft ground may head to Wales on October 21.
“Hopefully he’ll go to Cheltenham for a handicap chase at the October meeting, but he’d have to have soft ground,” said the trainer.
“I can't run him on quick ground and if it’s not soft, which it probably won’t be, he could go to Ffos Las for the Champion Hurdle down there. I need to get a run into him and figure out where we are.”
A fourth crack at the Betfair-backed Tingle Creek on December 9 is a potential second target according to Moore, although he is by no means guaranteed to bid for a third win in that race.
He added: “The Tingle Creek is a possibility for Sire De Grugy after that but whether he’s quite good enough for that anymore, I’m not sure.”
The Sandown Grade 1 is very much on the agenda for Moore’s exciting chaser Ar Mad, but not before a possible clash with another stablemate, Traffic Fluide, in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter on November 7.
“Ar Mad is probably going to go to Exeter and then the Tingle Creek,” said the trainer, who is looking forward to running the seven-year-old for the first time since he finished fourth to Un De Sceaux and Sire De Grugy last December.
He continued: “I'm really looking forward to the Tingle Creek for him. He looks good and I’m very happy with him.”
Outlining plans for a possible prep race for Traffic Fluide, Moore said: “He’s also going for the Haldon Gold Cup but may take in a hurdle race first.”
It has been a difficult few weeks for Moore who is coming to terms with the loss of Grade 2-winning hurdler Camping Ground.
Moore had high hopes for the seven-year-old, who delivered a stunning 29-length win on his first and only start for the trainer in the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell in February.
Camping Ground won the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham in January 2016 and Moore had planned to send him over fences.
The trainer, speaking at Fontwell on Friday, said: “He died from colic last month and I’m devastated. It’s not all roses this game.”
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