sport

Sire has Sandown in sights

Sire De Grugy is set to sidestep Aintree and Punchestown and could instead bid to win the bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown again.

Gary Moore's stable star silenced any remaining doubters with a brilliant display under his son Jamie in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival to put the seal on a memorable campaign which has yielded five victories from six starts.

Moore said: "I'll be guided by Jamie and Sire De Grugy.

"He's come out of the race really well. Everything is back to normal, he cantered this morning and seems in great form.

"One thing I can promise you is he won't be going to Aintree or Punchestown.

"If he goes anywhere, it will be Sandown for the Celebration Chase, and that will only be if the horse is telling me he wants to run again and the ground is suitable.

"I wouldn't run him on ground as quick as he ran on at Cheltenham last week. The ground was actually too quick for him and it was his class that won him the race.

"The Celebration Chase is a Grade One this year, so he wouldn't carry any penalties and he has a good record at Sandown, so we'll see."

In the absence of Sprinter Sacre, who is on the sidelines after suffering a heart condition earlier this season, Sire De Grugy has been the undoubted star of the division this term.

Moore admits the prospect of a clash with Nicky Henderson's brilliant chaser was not something he had relished at the start of the campaign, but his attitude has understandably changed.

The West Sussex handler said: "He's a horse I want to look after for next year.

"This season I was worried to death about taking on Sprinter Sacre, but now I want to have a go at him.

"People need to remember Sire De Grugy was a June foal, so he's only seven and a half, really.

"Hopefully there's more to come from him."