Sunday 21 January 2018

Sire De Grugy is set for Chepstow atonement mission

Sire De Grugy ridden by Jamie Moore (R)
Sire De Grugy ridden by Jamie Moore (R)
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Gary Moore's 2014 Champion Chaser Sire De Grugy looks increasingly likely to make an unscripted appearance in a handicap at Chepstow on Saturday.

The nine-year-old paid for an error-strewn performance on his belated return at Newbury recently by unseating Moore's son Jamie at the third-last fence.

Moore is anxious not to send Sire De Grugy back to defend his crown on the back of such a negative experience, given that he hadn't run since April due to an autumn setback.

"He galloped this morning and everything went good," Moore said yesterday. "He will school later in the week. We will run a few tests on him and if everything's okay, I'll speak to the owners, I'll speak to Jamie and we'll take it from there. At the moment we're definitely going."

Unfortunately, another of last year's Cheltenham Festival winners has all but been ruled out of a return next month, with Dermot Weld sounding downbeat about the possibility of his Champion Bumper victor Silver Concorde tackling one of the novices' hurdles.

The seven-year-old has been beaten in both its starts over flights to date, managing just fourth in Grade One company behind Nichols Canyon at Leopardstown earlier this month.

"He may or may not go - I'd say we'll keep him for Punchestown," Weld said of Silver Concorde. "He's a real good ground horse."

Weld has confirmed that Vigil, fifth in the bumper last year, will have a second cut at the same Grade One under champion Flat jockey Pat Smullen on the back of his Leopardstown victory over Christmas.

The Curragh wizard added that Windsor Park's Festival target would depend on the ground following the Galileo gelding's second to Nichols Canyon in the Deloitte over two-and-a-quarter miles.

"Windsor Park put up a good performance in the Grade One Hurdle race at Leopardstown and he will either go for the Neptune or the three-mile novice hurdle, one or the other" Weld said.

"Wherever Windsor Park runs, each-way, I'm sure he'll give a good account. You should always try to choose the easier race so I'll keep both options open.

"It depends on the day, it depends on the ground. If there is a nice spring and the ground is good, we might go for the Albert Bartlett with him and if it's soft ground, we'll probably go for the Neptune with him."

Irish Independent

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