The Gary Moore-trained Sire De Grugy will miss this year’s Cheltenham Festival after the Sussex handler revealed he has not been pleased with the gelding’s work at home following a fall at Kempton in December.
The 11-year-old son of My Risk won the 2014 renewal of the Queen Mother Champion Chase and was a well-beaten eighth behind Sprinter Sacre in the two-mile championship event last year.
However, after suffering a fall in the Desert Orchid Chase in December, Moore reported the gelding to not have shown his usual sparkle at home and will therefore bypass the Greatest Show on Turf.
Moore, however, looks set to rely on Traffic Fluide in the Champion Chase who has returned to action with two creditable efforts in defeat so far this term. After missing last term through injury, the unexposed seven-year-old was fourth to Altior in the Game Spirit and then sixth to Cue Card a week later in the Ascot Chase but Moore is hopeful the gelding should improve from those two runs which should have put him spot on for the Grade One event.
The trainer, commenting on Sire De Grugy in his Betway blog said:
Sire De Grugy holds entries at Cheltenham for both the Champion Chase and the Grand Annual, but he won’t be taking up either of those engagements. He hasn’t been himself really since unseating at Kempton over Christmas and his work has been disappointing.
There is no point heading to Cheltenham when you are not on your A Game and for that reason we are going to give this year’s Festival a miss with him. I certainly won’t be rushing him back as he owes us nothing at this stage of his career.
Hopefully we can get him back to his best by the time the Celebration Chase at Sandown comes around, so that gives him plenty of time.
Moore is hopeful of a big run in the Champion Chase from Traffic Fluide if the ground is soft. If not, he may head for a handicap at the Festival. The trainer continued:
A lot obviously depends on the ground, but at this stage I am certainly leaning towards taking on Douvan in the Betway Champion Chase with Traffic Fluide. He seems to be working really well and if the word ‘soft’ appears in the going description, as looks likely at this stage, that’s where he will go.
If the ground dries out quickly, we do have the option of stepping him up in trip for the Ryanair Chase, but the Champion remains the preferred option. The two quick runs he had last month have definitely helped with his fitness, as he seems to be working a lot better now.
On face value, those runs were disappointing, but it was important to get him back on the track. Jamie (Moore) says that he felt very flat at Ascot last time and that he would have been much closer if he hadn’t run at Newbury the week before. I’ve always held Traffic Fluide in the highest regard and I’m delighted with the way he is at the moment.