Moore’s concern as favourite Sire De Grugy pulls up lame

QUEEN Mother Champion Chase hero Sire De Grugy will miss his intended reappearance at Cheltenham this weekend after returning lame following a workout.

Trainer Gary Moore also says it is too early to know whether his stable star will be able to defend his crown in the Tingle Creek at Sandown on December 6 – the race that is also due to feature the much-anticipated comeback of former two-mile chase champion Sprinter Sacre.

“He’s not going to run on Sunday, unfortunately. He worked well this morning and was fine straight after, but he’s lame now,” said a clearly despondent Moore. “I’m hoping he’ll be okay for Sandown, but it’s up in the air. There’s nothing obvious, but he is lame. It is a big worry.”

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In the favourite’s absence, the Nicky Richards-trained Simply Ned will be well fancied by many to claim the Shloer Chase over two miles.

The seven-year-old rounded off last season by chasing home Balder Success in Grade One company at Aintree and made an impressive winning return to action in a Kelso handicap at the start of last month.

Cumbria-based Richards said: “All being well, Simply Ned will run in the Shloer Chase. He is fine, everything has gone nicely since Kelso, and we are looking forward to it.”

Rivals to Simply Ned, who caught the eye when winning at Doncaster in January, will include the JP McManus-owned Uxizandre who will now miss Saturday’s feature Paddy Power Gold Cup.

It means the weights for the Paddy Power race are likely to be headed by last year’s winner Johns Spirit and the Nicky Henderson-trained Oscar Whisky, who has been confirmed an intended runner.

The dual Aintree Hurdle winner struck twice over fences at Cheltenham last season and also claimed the Grade One Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown.

Oscar Whisky, who remarkably will be having his first start in a handicap, was runner-up behind Uxizandre at Aintree in April. Owner Dai Walters said: “He’s in good form, he worked well on Tuesday and we’ve decided to let him have a go on Saturday.”

Zaidyn, a half-brother to smart performers Zaidpour and Zaynar, upheld family honour when making a winning jumps debut at Bangor yesterday.

The Brian Ellison-trained four-year-old looked a useful recruit as he scored by six lengths under Danny Cook.

Malton-based Ellison and Cook completed a double when Racing Europe ran out a cosy winner of the finale.

Callum Bewley, a young conditional attached to Sue and Harvey Smith’s Bingley yard, recorded his second winner in a week when Maggie Blue prevailed at Ayr yesterday. The success followed his victory at Hexham last Friday aboard Milan Royale.

Like the Smith’s stable jockey Ryan Mania who won the 2013 Grand National on Auroras Encore, the teenager Bewley hails from the Scottish borders and the pair share the same agent in Bruce Jeffrey.

£500,000 boost to Injured Jockeys Fund: Page 3.