sport

Super Sire is the Champion

Sire De Grugy emphatically claimed the BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase, the highlight on day two of the Cheltenham Festival.

His critics had argued that the Gary Moore-trained eight-year-old lacked the artillery to handle the contours of the track after he was beaten on his last two visits to Prestbury Park.

But the 11-4 favourite made a mockery of such allegations with a no-nonsense success under the trainer's son, Jamie.

Somersby ran a smashing race in second, beaten six lengths, while Module was third.

In the absence of Sprinter Sacre, last year's winner and jumps racing's superstar, Sire De Grugy has made hay for his likeable connections.

Three previous victories, two of which came in Grade Ones, suggested he was the one to beat in what looked on paper to be a pretty moderate renewal of the great race.

And so it proved, as Moore's inmate glided into contention three out after Special Tiara, Somersby and Arvika Ligeonniere jousted for the lead from the outset.

Only Somersby was able to sustain any meaningful challenge, but it came to naught once Sire De Grugy joined that rival at the last fence.

There was only ever going to be one outcome from that stage, even though the game runner-up again emerged with credit.

Module defied odds of 20-1 to come from a long way back and take third spot, another neck adrift.

Sizing Europe, who won this race in 2011, looked like taking a hand in the finish, but he grew weary halfway along the straight.

Jamie Moore said: "I've got a good rapport with this horse, I love him to pieces. It's all down to him. It's a great effort by Dad as well

"He's had no credit this season, as far as I'm concerned, but it's all down to the horse. I love him so much.

"It's tremendous for all the family. It proves we can do it."

Moore senior said: "It annoys me people haven't given him the credit he deserved.

"He can't do any more than what he's done. He's gone out there today. You need a bit of luck sometimes.

"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.

"I didn't see the finish. I watched him jump the last then I couldn't see because there were too many people in the way.

"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."

Sire De Grugy could still take up another assignment later this spring. Jamie Moore said: "Where do we go now? We could go to Aintree or Sandown, but I haven't thought about that yet."

Former Flat champion jockey Ryan Moore is Jamie's brother and Gary's son and was proud of his family's achievements.

He said: "I'm just delighted for Jamie and for Dad as this means everything to them.

"The horse was very good. There was just one moment going down to the third-last that I was worried, but Jamie took his time and filled him up.

"They've put a lot of hard work into him and he's done so well."

Somersby's trainer Mick Channon 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 could not have been more pleased with the run of Module, who stayed on well.

He 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."