Horse Racing with Jason Hall

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SUSSEX trainer Gary Moore was delighted with the win of his smart hurdler Sire De Grugy at Taunton on Tuesday and the horse has now booked his place at the Cheltenham Festival in the County Hurdle.

The win came quickly off the back of a superb effort at Newbury in the rearranged Betfair Hurdle where he was disputing the lead over the final flight before being run down in the sprint for home.

On the same card, his novice hurdler Grabtheglory also produced a cracking effort when finishing third in a hot staying handicap, and Gary gave me his thoughts on the pair earlier this week.

“Sire De Grugy did very well. He will not go for the Imperial Cup at Sandown but straight to the Festival.

“He will like the strong pace but will need soft ground to be at his best.

“Grabtheglory missed a bit of work in the lead up to his return and that probably made the difference between winning and losing. He will go to the EBF final at Sandown in a couple of weeks and will improve again.”

There was some disappointment for Gary on Saturday though, when Orzare ran no sort of race at Ascot.

The promising hurdler had returned to action with an excellent placed finish over the same course and distance previously and his weekend run had Gary flummoxed.

“I really thought he would go close to winning, especially after the rain came down.

“Nothing has come up since but he did lose a shoe during the race. I don’t normally put much store by that but it’s something to think about.

“Other than that, I suppose he could have bounced. He might go to the Festival for the Martin Pipe. I’m still confident he’s a good horse who can win a decent race or two.”

It was very good to see that the racing authorities have amended their whip regulations and have put the emphasis back with the Stewards in evaluating the performance of a jockey.

The repercussions from the bad press that the now former rules evoked will not end just yet, but I am confident that the steps taken are in the best interests of the sport and that the well-being of racehorses will not be in anyway compromised by the new amendments and their interpretation by professional people close to the sport.

The Lewes trainer Jim Best has been a little quiet of late as he gives his horses the chance to catch up with the work they lost due to the cold snap earlier in the month.

He has a couple of his nicer individuals entered up this weekend in Western High and Dubawi Dancer and I spoke to Jim about them earlier this week. “Western High will go to Chepstow on Saturday where conditions look ideal for him.

“It is a nice maiden and it is his first run over hurdles so it isn’t all about winning on the day. He is a horse we have always been very pleased with, he does his work well and schools well, and we think he is a good prospect.

“Dubawi Dancer will bypass her race on Thursday.

“She was obviously disappointing at Kempton but she came back full of muck and we have given her plenty of time since. We have a plan to find a race in a couple of weeks time at a flat track, something she likes, and if it goes well think about stepping her back up in class. We think the time we give her now will reap rewards later.”

Personally, I like both of these and feel they could help Jim and Tom give their owners a profitable and enjoyable Spring.Hors