bet365 Celebration Chase
Grade 1, Sandown
£100,000 added,
5yo plus,
2m, Class 1
Saturday 26th April 2014

1 Sire De Grugy 2/7F
2 Pepite Rose 9/1
3 Special Tiara 7/1
NR: Australia Day (IRE), Claret Cloak (IRE)
6 ran Distances: 3¼l, 1½l, 2½l
TIME 3m 56.10s (slow by 10.10s)

Sire De Grugy
© Racehorse Photos

Sire De Grugy

Sire De Grugy brought his spectacular season to a fitting end with another impressive victory in the bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown.

In the absence of sidelined superstar Sprinter Sacre, Gary Moore's charge has been the undoubted king of the two-mile chasing division this season and returned to defend his Celebration Chase crown having won five of his previous six starts this season.

Sent off the 2-7 favourite following his Queen Mother Champion Chase strike, Sire De Grugy travelled powerfully in the hands of the trainer's son Jamie and jumped into a share of the lead at the Pond Fence, but he made a slight error at the second-last before a better leap at the final obstacle enabled him to pull clear by three and a quarter lengths from Pepite Rose.

The winning jockey said: "I've packed his flip-flops and sandals - he's off on holiday now! He's done us proud.

"He was a bit quiet today. He switched on the bridle as he always does three out and two out. He hit two out and just got a bit tired up the hill, but he's had a hard season. He's rocked it in all the top races and he's won again, even though he's probably not 100 per cent. He's still winning dirty.

"I'm very proud of the horse, everyone has wished us well and I think he has lit up this season. He's ran seven times and got beaten once. The rest he's won and that's all you can do. He's only eight. Simonsig and Sprinter Sacre will probably be back next year, but it will be nice to take him on. We'll give it a go."

Moore snr added: "He's marvellous. I don't think we all realise how lucky we all are to have such a wonderful horse like him. It shows what a great horse he is to win four Grade One chases in a season.

"He's a horse that loves to be trained. He'll go home to the field now for six weeks, but he won't want six weeks as he'll get bored. He will go to the same place as he always goes every summer - to Blackboys, a lady called Lynne Stone who looks after him does fantastically well for him.

"When he won this race last year you think it might have been a fluke, but the way he won at Chepstow first time out this season under a big weight made us start thinking maybe he is a good horse. He will more than likely go back there (Chepstow) next season.

"I will have to change his programme a bit because I probably wouldn't to do three races in such a short space of time as we did this year. He did it last year, but I'd like to space them out a bit - probably miss out the middle one. He'll definitely go to Ascot but whether we go to Kempton or not I don't know.

"I was slightly nervous because a lot of people, some good judges among them, told me I shouldn't come here and told me to put him away because horses don't always come back in the same form as they do at Cheltenham. But I was confident in myself that he was very well and with all the help from the staff and Jamie, I was confident he was in good order.

I really enjoy it. It makes the job worthwhile, as it isn't easy some days. You need a horse like him to keep you going."

Pepite Rose's trainer Venetia Williams was understandably delighted with her mare's effort.

She said: "I'm absolutely delighted with her - really thrilled. There was a decision to make on whether we ran in this or the two-mile-six-furlong chase (Oaksey Chase) earlier in the day. I was happy with the decision and I'm even happier with the outcome. To finish second in a Grade One to a true champion means we're absolutely thrilled."

bet365 Celebration Chase (Grade 1)
£125,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m, Class 1
6 ran
Going: Good to soft

Sire De Grugy
G L Moore
J E Moore
11st 7lbs
2 - 7
Pepite Rose
Miss V Williams
Aidan Coleman
11st 0lbs
9 - 1
3 1/4 lengths
Special Tiara
H de Bromhead
A E Lynch
11st 7lbs
7 - 1
1 1/2 length
Evan Williams
Adam Wedge
11st 7lbs
50 - 1
2 1/2 lengths
French Opera
N J Henderson
B J Geraghty
11st 7lbs
12 - 1
9 lengths
Kauto Stone
P F Nicholls
Sam Twiston-Davies
11st 7lbs
20 - 1
3 3/4 lengths
Australia Day
P R Webber
L Treadwell
11st 7lbs
Claret Cloak
Miss E C Lavelle
N Fehily
11st 7lbs