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2016 Queen Mother Champion Chase runners - Blinkers possible for Sire De Grugy

Jon Wilde in Wed. 15th March 10 Mar 2016
  • Sire De Grugy aims to regain the Queen Mother Champion Chase crown
  • Trainer Gary Moore reports his stable star could wear blinkers at Cheltenham
Jamie Moore (red silks) riding Sire De Grugy (credit: Cheltenhampro.com)

Sire De Grugy could be equipped with blinkers when he and two other fellow recent winners of the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase tackle odds-on favourite Un De Sceaux in the feature race on day two of the Cheltenham Festival.

Gary Moore’s gelding has enjoyed a renaissance this season, winning a second Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in December.

While he proved no match for Wednesday’s hot favourite Un De Sceaux in January's Clarence House Chase at Ascot, his trainer hopes blinkers could help close the gap between the pair at Cheltenham.

Moore said:
“The plan is to school him and pop a pair of blinkers on him for the first time. That's not because he's ungenuine or anything like that, it's just to see whether it sharpens him up a bit. 
“He's a bit older and wiser and if they can eke out a tiny bit of improvement, it may just get us that bit closer to Un De Sceaux. 
“If he goes well in them, there is every chance he may wear them next week at Cheltenham. We will make that decision nearer the time though. 
“He's in really great form at home and I was delighted to hear they have had proper rain at Cheltenham.”

Sire De Grugy is likely to make a return trip to the beach as the final touches are put to his Champion Chase preparations.

The 10-year-old has had the same routine every year and Moore added: “It's become part of his Cheltenham preparation and he just seems to love it there.

“The plan after that is just to keep him ticking over as all the hard work has been done and fingers crossed we get him to the Festival.”

Along with Sire De Grugy, other previous winners Dodging Bullets and Sprinter Sacre are also among the 12 confirmed entries for the two-mile spectacular while Vautour, who is seemingly bound for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, has also been left in.

As well as Un De Sceaux and Vautour, impressive winners of last season’s Arkle Challenge Trophy and JLT Novices’ Chase respectively, Willie Mullins dominates the entries with Felix Yonger and Twinlight also engaged.

Henry de Bromhead, who won the race with Sizing Europe in 2011, is set to rely on last year’s third Special Tiara, with former stable companion Sizing Granite, now in the care of Brave Inca’s trainer Colm Murphy, adding further strength to the Irish challenge.

Somersby, a standing dish in the Champion Chase, is in line for a fifth crack at the race after finishing second to Dodging Bullets 12 months ago.

God’s Own, runner-up to Un De Sceaux in last year’s Arkle, and Micky Hammond-trained Just Cameron complete the dozen possibles.


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2016 Queen Mother Champion Chase runners - Blinkers possible for Sire De Grugy

Sire De Grugy could be equipped with blinkers when he and two other fellow recent winners of the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase tackle odds-on favourite Un De Sceaux in the feature race on day two of the Cheltenham Festival.

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