Horse Racing with Jason Hall – Novice chaser gives Gary a good winner

The seven year old novice chaser Sire De Grugy provided his Sussex trainer Gary Moore with a notable success in the Grade 2 Celebration Chase at Sandown’s end of season showpiece meeting – and stamped himself as a riing star in the two mile chase division.

The French-bred gelding posted an impressive win over the former champion chaser Finians Rainbow after having jumped and travelled well throughout this valuable contest before quickening clear of his rivals to win with authority. Gary was understandably thrilled with the performance and spoke afterwards of his delight.

“I thought the track would beat him today and that he was better on a flat track, but it’s all worked out well and this is probably it for the season – but there’s a slim chance he might go to France,” he said.

“I ran him at Stratford because I was getting nervous about the ground today and wanted him to have more experience.”

With the outstanding Sprinter Sacre and the highly talented Simonsig around, next season will not be easy for Sire De Grugy but there are races in the calendar for him.

It is possible he could start next term at Cheltenham in the Shloer Chase which would be a well-timed preparation before a tilt at the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton’s Christmas meeting.

That Grade 2 contest does look the ideal target for Sire De Grugy as the flat track is made for him and remember the horse has won five of his six starts going right-handed over hurdles and fences.

As suspected, Well Refreshed was unable to cope with the stern jumping test that Sandown provides in his bid to give Moore further success on the same card in the prestigious Bet365 Gold Cup and was pulled up.

I mentioned in last week’s column that Shamahan was returning to action at Leicester after his extended absence and he ran a cracking race under a considerate ride.

Poorly drawn, he overcame that inconvenience to track the leaders and finished a very respectable fourth.

The gelding has returned home in fine fettle and is definitely one to note on his next appearance, preferably over seven furlongs.