Cheltenham Festival: Jamie Moore steers Sire De Grugy to easy win in the Champion Chase
Favourite Sire De Grugy (11/4) produced a really impressive display to land the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Last Updated: 13/03/14 9:23am
There had been a few doubts voiced about the winner's ability to produce his best at this track but he answered them emphatically, powering away on the run-in to give jockey Jamie Moore his first Festival winner in one of the biggest races of the meeting.
Somersby (14/1) ran a storming race to claim second, just holding off third-placed Module (20/1), who stayed on strongly after being out-paced.
Special Tiara, Arvika Ligeonniere and Somersby took them along in the championship race for two-mile chasers while Moore bided his time on Sire De Grugy, trained by his father Gary.
Somersby managed to see off his fellow front-runners but found Sizing Europe looming up on his outside as they turned for home.
The 2011 winner proved he is no back number at the age of 12 with an excellent run but it was Sire De Grugy who made the decisive move, challenging two out and quickening into the lead as they approached the final fence.
A good jump there sealed the victory and the eight-year-old bounded up the home straight to score by six lengths.
Somersby beat Module by a neck for second with Sizing Europe a gallant fourth.
Delight for Moore family
Jamie Moore said: "I've got a good rapport with this horse, I love him to pieces. It's all down to him and it's a great effort by Dad as well
"It's tremendous for all the family, it proves we can do it."
In the absence of reigning champion chaser Sprinter Sacre, Sire De Grugy has been unstoppable this season, adding victory here to Grade 1 successes at Sandown and Ascot.
And Moore senior added: "It annoys me people haven't given the horse the credit he deserved. He can't do any more than what he's done.
"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.
"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."
Chief owner Steve Preston said of the winner: "I don't know what to say, he's just proven that he is really classy.
"He has put in their place those people who have been saying for weeks that he wouldn't win, and even some who said they didn't want him to win."
Somersby pleases Channon
Somersby's trainer Mick Channon was proud of the 10-year-old's run in second and said: "He's been in good form.
"He went over to Hen's (Henrietta Knight) and they did a lot of schooling with him after he fell at Ascot.
"I just thought he was in great form. Dom (Elsworth) gave him a great ride and he ran a cracker. He just got beat by a very good horse of Gary's."
Tom George trains third-place finisher Module and said: "I'm thrilled to bits, he was staying on really well at the finish.
"He'd finished really tired in the Peterborough so I dropped him in trip, because I wanted him to run through the line strongly.
"I've had the two-and-a-half-mile race at Aintree in the back of my mind and, if he's OK after this, that is where he'll go.
"I always hoped he'd run very well and he has done. I knew this ground would suit him, but the trip on the ground was probably too short. He's a young horse and he'll be back here again, hopefully."