Sire De Grugy: needs more time and could wait for the Game Spirit
PICTURE: Getty Images
By Stuart Riley 11:49AM 13 JAN 2017
GARY MOORE has revealed Sire De Grugy is likely to skip next week’s Grade 1 Berkshire Community Foundation Clarence House Chase at Ascot in favour of the Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase at Newbury next month.
Moore will still be represented at Ascot on January 21 in the form of the bold-jumping front runner Ar Mad, who he reports to be “flying at home”, but the trainer feels the 2014 Champion Chase winner requires more time.
“A week is a long time in racing, but at the moment my preference is to wait for the Game Spirit for Sire De Grugy,” said Moore.
“Don’t get me wrong, Sire De Grugy is in great form at home too, but I’m just leaning towards giving him a bit more of a break as he’s been busy.
“The other factor is jockey bookings as with Josh on the sidelines, Jamie will ride Ar Mad [at Ascot]. That means I’d have to put someone else up on Sire De Grugy for the first time and I’m not all that keen on doing that.”
The revelation Jamie Moore was willing to get off the horse he has described as his best friend says a lot about the regard in which the Moores hold Ar Mad and would suggest he would have been their first string in a race which Sire De Grugy won in 2014.
“With just over a week to go until the Clarence House at Ascot, it is looking more and more likely that Ar Mad will be our only runner in the race,” Moore added in his Betway blog.
“He seems a different horse now from the one going into the Tingle Creek and is flying at home. Maybe Un De Sceaux has improved plenty since too, but I honestly couldn’t be more delighted with Ar Mad. I’m really looking forward to seeing him back in action.
Ar Mad (nearside): could come back for the Ascot Chase
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
“The Clarence House will tell us whether he is a genuine Champion Chase contender or whether or not we elect to step him up in trip for a race like the Ryanair Chase, but win, lose or draw at Ascot, I have half an eye on going back to Ascot with him again in February for the Ascot Chase.”
On Traffic Fluide, who has not been seen since finishing a short-head behind Sire De Grugy when third in last year’s Clarence House but could again join his stablemate – this time in the Game Spirit, Moore said: “I’ve been delighted with Traffic Fluide’s progress and he is getting there every day. If I can, I’d like to get a racecourse gallop into him somewhere before Newbury.”
On festival targets for the trio he added: “It will be a lot easier to set out who goes where when it comes to Cheltenham after they have all had one more run.”
Kempton decision ‘an absolute disgrace’
Moore also offered his opinion on Jockey Club Racecourses plan to sell off Kempton. As a southern-based dual-purpose trainer Moore has sent out 394 runners at the Sunbury venue since the start of 2013 and he labelled the decision “an absolute disgrace”.
“Plenty has been written and said over the last week about the Jockey Club’s plans to potentially bulldoze Kempton for housing and all I’ll add is that I think it’s an absolute disgrace,” he said.
“Yes, of all the tracks in the country, it’s the one where I send the most runners, but that’s for a reason. It’s a great and fair track for both Flat and National Hunt – it would be a huge blow if it was lost.
“The one thing I don’t get is that the Jockey Club talk of its Royal Charter to act for the long-term good of British racing and in the same breath talk about selling Kempton. It just doesn’t make any sense.
“The danger with putting one of the country’s most historic tracks up for sale is that it sets a dangerous precedent for other tracks. We’ve all seen what is happening in greyhound racing and the Jockey Club need to stand by their so-called Charter.”