Sire De Grugy Exclusive
A morning in the company of Sussex trainer Gary Moore……
As an extra to our list last week of pre Cheltenham trainer chats I was lucky enough to be invited down to deepest darkest Sussex and the yard of ex jockey and successful trainer Gary Moore.
Those unfamiliar with the famous racing family will like to know that Gary is the son of trainer Charlie Moore, and father of three time Champion flat jockey Ryan Moore, successful jump jockeys Jamie and Joshua Moore, and amateur rider Hayley Moore, as well as husband to wife Jayne, another stable stalwart. After retiring from the saddle with 200 or so winners to his name he started training in Epsom in 1993 in Epsom before taking over his fathers yard in Brighton in 1996. His eleven years there were reasonably successful (I well remember a visit or two myself), but in 2007 Charlie Cyzer decided to retire as a trainer and Gary seized the opportunity with both hands and is now settled in at Cisswood Stables complete with 180 acres, and impressive surroundings they are too.
As you may well have guessed by now, Sire De Grugy was the main reason for our visit, as well as the centre of conversation, but luckily for us Gary is not backward at coming forward and we were soon made well aware of his thoughts regarding the Queen Mother Champion Chase which his now nine year old won last year by six lengths form Somersby in what many felt was a substandard renewal without the presence of Nicky Henderson’s Sprinter Sacre. In theory it should be a good match up between the two but Gary sees the race differently and is unconcerned by the return to action of the one time superstar. His bleeding issues, however minor last time out are enough to add too many question marks in his view, while third favourite Dodging Bullets is also failing to give him sleepless nights as he is convinced he has him covered as well, but Champagne Fever is a different matter. Willie Mullins trains the eight year old who has an excellent Cheltenham record (two wins and a second from three attempts), and Gary certainly seems to see him as the main danger in 2015. For those interested in the nitty-gritty and the finer details, we were told that Sire De Grugy will run in special plastic shoes (after having had a corn removed), but although unusual I won’t be giving them too much time as he won easily in them at Chepstow last time out which is good enough for me. Gary also pointed out that Sire De Grugy clocked a better time than Sprinter Sacre on ground that was admittedly a little faster, and that granted the obligatory luck in running, he seems pretty confident he will be there or thereabouts at the end of a fascinating contest.
After watching him work twice on the woodchip gallops he seemed in good enough heart to me and goes to Cheltenham with everyone’s good wishes, though he is not the only horse Gary seemed pretty keen on.
Violet Dancer is the forgotten horse, a would be star of the show put in the stable shade by Sire De Grugy, but a very decent hurdler in his own right. He won the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury when last seen in action and has been put up nine pounds for doing so, yet they seem to think he has continued to improve at home since, and he goes to the County Hurdle on Friday with every chance. Priced at 16/1 or thereabouts, Jamie Moore will ride (as he will Sire De Grugy), and in a perfect world, we may even have a stable double by the end of the week -stranger things have certainly happened in this game.
Lastly, and one for your notebooks, Gary seems to think quite a bit of Oh So Fruity, though we will not be seeing him at Cheltenham this season. Only a five year old, he was described as mentally immature by his trainer which is why he gives this year a miss, but he is likely to make it to Sandown on Saturday and should start at decent odds having raced five times without success so far. Clearly a work in progress, no one is saying he will win this weekend or when, but they do like him and I suspect he will pop up at a decent price some time this season or next for those with enough patience.