Queen Mother Champion Chase
2m, Class 1
|Wednesday 12th March 2014
1 Sire De Grugy 11/4F
2 Somersby 14/1
3 Module 20/1
11 ran Distances: 6l, nk, 3¼l
TIME 3m 48.49s (fast by 3.51s)
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.
An emotional trainer Gary Moore welcomed Sire De Grugy into the winner's enclosure after his son Jamie had partnered the French-bred to a brilliant victory in the BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase.
"It annoys me that people don't give him the credit he deserves. It was all about Sprinter Sacre and someone wrote the other day that this race should be done under the trade descriptions act because the Queen Mother Chase isn't right," said Moore.
"He can't do any more then what he has done. He has gone out there today and done it. Jamie knows what he is doing and he has given the horse an absolute peach of a ride. I am so thrilled for everybody concerned.
"There's a lot of people who deserve thanks for this. I have never had so many text messages - it started at six o'clock this morning - and I am just glad he has won for them as much as anyone else.
"I watched it until the last and then I couldn't see any more - there were too many people in the way.
"It's Jamie's first Festival winner and the other jockeys coming out afterwards proved how popular Jamie is. And seeing Ryan (Moore) there as well. It meant quite a lot. It probably has been done before but I haven't seen it done for a long time.
"This means so much to me and my family. It's something I thought could happen but these things don't happen very often. I suppose I'm very lucky to have such a great family. I'm proud of all of them.
"The horse is such a professional and very easy to train. He did tread on a stone 10 days ago, which was a bit of a worry, but he was right the next day.
"The race couldn't have gone any better. I said to Jamie I'd rather he got there too late than too early and he did it perfectly."
BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase
£350,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m, Class 1
Going: Good, Good to Soft in places
|Sire De Grugy
G L Moore
|J E Moore
|11 - 4
M R Channon
|14 - 1
T R George
|P J Brennan
|20 - 1
H de Bromhead
|A E Lynch
|11 - 1
3 1/4 lengths
P J Hobbs
|18 - 1
3 3/4 lengths
H de Bromhead
|D N Russell
|16 - 1
2 1/2 lengths
N J Henderson
|A P McCoy
|10 - 1
W P Mullins
|8 - 1
M F Morris
|D J Casey
|14 - 1
N J Henderson
|B J Geraghty
|7 - 2
P F Nicholls
|11 - 1
BEST CHELTENHAM RUN BY SOMERSBY
Beaten by favourite Sire De Grugy, 14/1 shot Somersby still confirmed himself a superb chaser when finishing runner-up.
Trainer Mick Channon, whose 10-year-old was beaten six lengths, said: "He's run wonderfully - he unseated last time out so we weren't sure what would happen today, but he's just been beaten by a better horse.
"Dominic [Elsworth] gave him a great ride and we have no complaints. He went over to Hen's and did a lot of schooling after he fell at Ascot. He has run a cracker and just got beat by a very good horse of Gary's. I wish Gary would stick to Flat racing!"
Somersby's previous trainer, Henrietta Knight, was also present and said: "That's the best race he's run for a long time, and certainly the best race he's run at Cheltenham. We were beaten by one good horse. The cheekpieces were back on today and he just jumped and travelled well in them - it was a great run. I doubt whether you will see him run again this season because he's one of those horses that doesn't take a lot of racing.
"I think the winner is a lovely horse and a well-deserved winner. The form has worked out very well."
Tom George, trainer of third-placed Module, who started at 20/1 and was beaten a neck for second, said: "I'm thrilled with him. He was outpaced a bit and Paddy [Brennan] said he needs further than two miles, but I was pleased to see him galloping right to the line. He was the least experienced horse in the race and has a great future.
"He loved today's ground, which I knew he would - softer ground may have helped him today, but he was fine on it. The way he's finished and the fact that he's clearly not out on his head makes me think we'll go to Aintree with him. We ran him over this trip today with Aintree in mind."
Former winner Sizing Europe ran another fine race to be in contention on the home turn, but he faded into fourth. Jockey Andrew Lynch said of the 12-year-old: "He ran a blinder and I couldn't ask for more from him, but younger legs just proved too much."
IT IS ALL ABOUT SIRE DE GRUGY SAYS JAMIE
Jamie Moore, who gained his first winner at The Festival on Sire De Grugy, said: "It is tremendous. The horse hasn't been given any credit this season and he has proved today, at a track he hates and on ground he does not like, what a good horse he is.
"It is all about Sire De Grugy who is a horse I have had a lot to do with - it is brilliant.
"Me and this horse - we have got a good rapport - I love him to absolute pieces. Its all down to him - he trains himself. It's a great effort by dad and the owners as well.
"Sire De Grugy has had no credit this season as far as I am concerned. But he keeps winning and is an absolutely fabulous animal.
"All the boys (fellow jockeys) have come out of the weighing room and it is just great to have a really nice horse. I love this horse - apart from my family, he is next best. He has been an absolute star to me.
"Lucy, my wife, and my two girls are here. Ryan came down as well, Hayley is at home, Josh is at Huntingdon and my mum and dad are here. It's tremendous. These days don't come around for a jockey like myself and today it has done.
"We have both proved that we can do it. I thought it was a competitive enough race. They went flat out - he travelled around, he has jumped brilliant and he has picked up when I asked him.
"It is a tremendous training performance by Dad. He ran five times in two months and won all of them bar one. We have given him a break and brought him back which just shows that Dad can train them hard or soft.
"Even Ryan said I gave him a good ride so I am pleased about that. I had never ridden a Festival winner so that plays on your mind a little bit.
"He is a horse I have great belief in. I ride him out every day. I rode him this morning and I do believe he can do everything he wants to do. Today everything clicked and he listened to me. When I sat he popped, when I asked him, he came up for me and when I gave him a kick after the last he went again. He is a real trier and really tough horse.
"I said to Ruby (Walsh) at the top of the hill 'What should I do now - I am still going well' - Ruby said just follow Special Tiara. I have to thank Ruby as well in a bit.
"This race is a proper Grade One and it means a lot to us. Everybody in racing works hard - we all stick the shift in. We are very close family and I am glad I can tell my daughters that I have achieved something.
"It is very nice to know that we are quite well liked. I know everybody seems to hate Ryan but he is not that bad!"
His brother, the three-time Champion Flat jockey Ryan Moore, remarked: "I am really pleased for Jamie - I thought he gave the horse a most beautiful ride. Jamie has waited a long time for this."
SIRE AND SON LAND QUEEN MUM
Trainer Gary Moore was humble in victory following Sire de Grugy's six length victory this afternoon.
It proved to be a red-letter day for the Moore family as the 11/4 favourite was also ridden by the trainer's son Jamie, who was riding his first Festival winner.
"I'm very proud of the horse," said the trainer.
"No one ever buys horses thinking they are going to win a race like this and I never dreamed for a moment when he arrived in the yard that he could have done what he's done.
"The way he's improved between last season and this one has been incredible. He did well for us last year but it was his victory at Chepstow first time out this season that first made me think he could be something very special. He carried 12 stone that day and just walked all over them. I don't like making excuses for horses but I do think he had a genuine reason for being beaten at Cheltenham back in November.
"He'd been shod by a different blacksmith before that race and I'm sure the shoes he put on were too big. It meant he couldn't get a firm grip and he was slipping into the fences that day. It's a bit like one of us being asked to run on skis - he just couldn't do himself justice. Silly little things like that can make a big difference.
"I had no doubts about him acting well round Cheltenham before today's race. I always thought he would run well but you never think you're definitely going to win until you jump the last. I'm very proud of Jamie (Moore - rider of Sire de Grugy and the trainer's son). Aside from the Grand National, I don't think I've ever seen a reception like that when they came back in - that shows just how popular he is.
"I had so many messages before the race from lots of different people. In a way, this victory is for them - you never realise how popular you are sometimes. I don't really care if he runs again or not this season as he's already done more than we could ever have hoped for. We'll see how he is though and if he's well, then we could head back to Sandown again (for the recently upgraded Grade One Celebration Chase - which Sire de Grugy won last year)."
Son Jamie was also full of praise for the horse but was also quick to point out just how much work his father had put into the eight-year-old.
"Dad told me to take my time and settle him into the race so I tried to follow his instructions as closely as I could," said the jockey.
"He's obviously improved this season but I've been impressed with the way he's learned to fiddle his fences when he meets them wrong - he's very good at that now. He was travelling really well coming down the hill and when I passed Ruby, I asked him 'what do I do here?' as he's the one who has ridden all the winners here! Ruby told me to get myself up there and sit just behind Davy (Russell, who rode Special Tiara) so after he'd finished giving me a riding lesson, I made my move.
"I've done a lot with this horse back at home and am very proud of him. All the credit has to go to Dad as he's done brilliantly with him this season. He's had quite a few runs so to be able to bring him up to win and wind him down afterwards takes quite a bit.
"We also took him to the beach a couple of weeks ago and he worked well so he clearly thrives on the regime that Dad gives him. It's been a brilliant day as apart from Josh and Hayley (Moore's siblings), everyone we know is here and it's great to share it with them."