Super Sire claims two-mile crown
Sire De Grugy emphatically silenced the dissenting voices by claiming the BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase, the highlight on day two of the Cheltenham Festival.
His critics had argued that the Gary Moore-trained eight-year-old lacked the artillery to handle the contours of the track after he was beaten on his last two visits to Prestbury Park.
But the 11-4 favourite made a mockery of such allegations with a no-nonsense success under the trainer's son, Jamie.
Somersby ran a smashing race in second, beaten by six lengths, while Module was third.
In the absence of Sprinter Sacre, last year's winner and jumps racing's superstar, Sire De Grugy has made hay for his likeable connections.
Three previous victories, two of which came in Grade Ones, suggested he was the one to beat in what looked on paper to be a pretty moderate renewal of the great race.
And so it proved, as Moore's inmate glided into contention three out after Special Tiara, Somersby and Arvika Ligeonniere jousted for the lead from the outset.
Only Somersby was able to sustain any meaningful challenge, but it came to nought once Sire De Grugy joined that rival at the last fence.
There was only ever going to be one outcome from that stage, even though the game runner-up again emerged with credit.
Module defied odds of 20-1 to come from a long way back and take third spot, another neck adrift.
Sizing Europe, who won this race in 2011, looked like taking a hand in the finish, but he grew weary halfway along the straight.
Jamie Moore said: "I've got a good rapport with this horse, I love him to pieces. It's all down to him. It's a great effort by Dad as well.
"He's had no credit this season, as far as I'm concerned, but it's all down to the horse. I love him so much.
"It's tremendous for all the family. It proves we can do it."
Moore senior said: "It annoys me people haven't given him the credit he deserved.
"He can't do any more than what he's done. He's gone out there today. You need a bit of luck sometimes.
"Jamie has given him a peach of a ride and I'm just thrilled for everybody.
"There are a lot of people who deserve a lot of credit, including the staff at home. I'm just glad he's won for everyone as much as anything else.
"I didn't see the finish. I watched him jump the last then I couldn't see because there were too many people in the way.
"The guard of honour the lads gave to Jamie meant a lot. It just proves what a popular person he is. I've not seen that done for a long time."
Meanwhile, Silver Concorde came with a wet sail up the hill to claim the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.
Robbie McNamara had the Dermot Weld-trained 16-1 shot not too far off a good pace set by Black Hercules and delayed his move until after the turn for home.
The six-year-old was always travelling well and quickened to the front when given the office by McNamara.
Silver Concorde bounded up the hill to beat the Willie Mullins-trained 7-2 favourite Shaneshill by a length and a half with Joshua Lane a length and three-quarters away in third.
Weld said: "He did it well. He's a very decent horse and I knew the drying ground would suit him well.
"Robbie's a master craftsman and rode a beautiful race.
"This horse has had his problems. He's taken time to come to himself as he was big and immature, but he's got there.
"He'll make a super hurdler, but there might be a few races to win with him on the Flat first."
Cross-country specialist Balthazar King defied top weight with a narrow victory over Any Currency in the Glenfarclas Handicap Chase.
Winner of this specialist contest in 2012, the Philip Hobbs-trained 10-year-old just denied Any Currency by a short head after a mighty tussle in the hands of Richard Johnson.
Big Shu, the winner 12 months ago, was two lengths away in third with Duke Of Lucca fourth.
Earlier in the day, Nico de Boinville and Whisper just saw off Tony McCoy on Get Me Out Of Here in a thrilling race for the Coral Cup.
There was nothing between them up the hill, but it was Whisper (14-1), trained by Nicky Henderson and owned by Dai Walters, who prevailed by a short head.
Bayan was two and a quarter lengths away in third, with Smashing fourth.
O'Faolains Boy came up trumps in a titanic duel with Smad Place for the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
The Barry Geraghty-ridden seven-year-old (12-1) found just a little more when it mattered to take the Grade One by a neck for the Rebecca Curtis team.
Irish challenger Morning Assembly finished third.
Faugheen maintained his unbeaten record as he posted an impressive success in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.
The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old swept to the front after three out in the hands of Ruby Walsh and pulled clear of the opposition with the minimum of fuss.
Cole Harden and Creepy had taken the field along until the third-last, where 6-4 favourite Faugheen was going ominously well with his main market rival Red Sherlock hot on his heels.
Faugheen made a mistake both three out and at the second-last but he flew the final flight and powered up the hill to win as he liked, making it four wins from four over hurdles and giving Mullins and Walsh their third winner of the meeting.
Ballyalton battled on stoutly to claim the runner-up spot ahead of Rathvinden, who was a further half-length adrift.
Yorkshire toasted its first Cheltenham Festival winner of the week when Hawk High swooped in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.
Trained in Great Habton by Tim Easterby, the Trevor Hemmings-owned four-year-old sprang a 33-1 surprise under Brian Hughes.
Hughes had been criticised in certain quarters for his ride aboard Attaglance in a Listed race on Tuesday, but timed things nicely here.
Clarcam's fall two flights out caused plenty of mayhem, a consequence of which saw Orgilgo Bay gain a definitive lead.
But Hawk High was not to be denied as a tidy jump at the last sealed the deal.