Updated: Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 16:04 | Comments
Sire De Grugy emphatically silenced the dissenting voices by claiming the BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase, the highlight on day two of the Cheltenham Festival.
His critics had argued that the Gary Moore-trained eight-year-old lacked the artillery to handle the contours of the track after he was beaten on his last two visits to Prestbury Park.
But the 11-4 favourite made a mockery of such allegations with a no-nonsense success under the trainer’s son, Jamie.
Somersby ran a smashing race in second, beaten six lengths, while Module was third.
In the absence of Sprinter Sacre, last year’s winner and jumps racing’s superstar, Sire De Grugy has made hay for his likeable connections.
Three previous victories, two of which came in Grade Ones, suggested he was the one to beat in what looked on paper to be a pretty moderate renewal of the great race.
And so it proved, as Moore’s inmate glided into contention three out after Special Tiara, Somersby and Arvika Ligeonniere jousted for the lead from the outset.
Only Somersby was able to sustain any meaningful challenge, but it came to naught once Sire De Grugy joined that rival at the last fence.
There was only ever going to be one outcome from that stage, even though the game runner-up again emerged with credit.
Module defied odds of 20-1 to come from a long way back and take third spot, another neck adrift.
“He’s had no credit this season, as far as I’m concerned, but it’s all down to the horse. I love him so much.” – Jamie Moore
Sizing Europe, who won this race in 2011, looked like taking a hand in the finish, but he grew weary halfway along the straight.
Jamie Moore said: “I’ve got a good rapport with this horse, I love him to pieces. It’s all down to him. It’s a great effort by Dad as well
“He’s had no credit this season, as far as I’m concerned, but it’s all down to the horse. I love him so much.
“It’s tremendous for all the family. It proves we can do it.”
Moore senior said: “It annoys me people haven’t given him the credit he deserved.
“He can’t do any more than what he’s done. He’s gone out there today. You need a bit of luck sometimes.
“Jamie has given him a peach of a ride and I’m just thrilled for everybody.
“There are a lot of people who deserve a lot of credit, including the staff at home. I’m just glad he’s won for everyone as much as anything else.
“I didn’t see the finish. I watched him jump the last then I couldn’t see because there were too many people in the way.
“The guard of honour the lads gave to Jamie meant a lot. It just proves what a popular person he is. I’ve not seen that done for a long time.”