Sire De Grugy in line to return at Chepstow on Sunday

Jamie Moore riding Sire De Grugy (L)

Sire De Grugy: has a good record at Chepstow

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

 By Bruce Jackson 7:20AM 4 OCT 2016 

SIRE DE GRUGY is set to headline Chepstow’s opening two-day jumps meeting after pleasing Gary and Jamie Moore in his weekend work.

Last year’s Tingle Creek and 2014 Champion Chase winner will be defending an unbeaten record over fences at the track after two previous successes, but could step back up in trip for Sunday’s 2m3½f John Ayres Memorial Handicap Chase, in which he could meet another Cheltenham Festival scorer in Irish Cavalier.

Moore, quoted in his Betway blog on Monday, said: “He galloped on Saturday and, after the rain we’ve had, he was able to school this morning. Jamie popped him over 12 fences and he did it nicely. We were both delighted with him.

“Sunday’s race is over two and a half miles and we’ll know where we stand with him afterwards. Whether or not he still has the gears to be competitive in a Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, only time will tell. He certainly doesn’t seem to have lost any speed, though.”

Festival pointers

There is a chance a Cheltenham Festival winner, and certainly a contender, will show their hand over the two days at a meeting many consider to mark the start of the jumps season proper.

The recent rollcall at the meeting is impressive, not least last year when subsequent Supreme Novices’ Hurdle star Altior made a successful hurdling debut, while subsequent RSA Chase hero Blaklion and Aintree’s Grade 1 Mildmay Novice Chase winner Native River filled the places in the novice chase.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls, who has made a large number of entries, said on Monday: “If the ground is still on the easy side we’ll run plenty, but they all still have to work this week and I’ll know more on Thursday.”

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