SIRE DE Grugy is the new two-mile champion after breaking his losing run at Cheltenham in spectacular style and proving to be a popular successor to the absent Sprinter Sacre.
Victory in the BetVictor Queen Mother Chase was the biggest win to date in the career of trainer Gary Moore and his son Jamie.
Horse and rider were given a guard of honour by Moore’s weighing room colleagues as they returned to the winner’s enclosure.
The six-length victory over the veteran Somersby, ridden by Guiseley-born Dominic Elsworth, was a win for the romantics.
Owner Steve Preston, a hairdresser, only bought a horse after his friends had a whip round for his 50th birthday.
After Sire De Grugy’s fourth victory this season, the winning trainer defiantly said. “It annoys me that people don’t give him the credit he deserves. It was all about Sprinter Sacre and someone wrote the other day that this race should be done under the trade descriptions act because the Queen Mother Chase isn’t right,” said Moore senior.
“He can’t do any more then what he has done. He has gone out there today and done it. Jamie knows what he is doing and he has given the horse an absolute peach of a ride. I am so thrilled for everybody concerned.
“There’s a lot of people who deserve thanks for this. I have never had so many text messages – it started at six o’clock this morning – and I am just glad he has won for them as much as anyone else.”
On a dramatic day that saw top Irish rider Bryan Cooper break his leg when suffering a heavy fall in the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle won by Tim Easterby’s Hawk High, the most poignant success came in the finale when Robbie McNamara partnered Dermot Weld’s Silver Concorde to victory in the Champion Bumper.
Like The Yorkshire Post’s guest tipster Brian Toomey who tipped the 16-1 winner in yesterday’s paper, the winning rider is a cousin of JT McNamara who was left paralysed by a fall at last year’s Cheltenham Festival.
McNamara dedicated his win to his cousin while Weld expects Silver Concorde to live up to his name. “He did it well. He’s a very decent horse and I knew the drying ground would suit him well. Robbie’s a master craftsman and rode a beautiful race. He’ll make a super hurdler, but there might be a few races to win with him on the Flat first,” he said.