Sire De Grugy can underline Champion claims in Shloer Chase
The Champion Chase may look like a one-horse race now that Nicky Henderson has confirmed it to be Sprinter Sacre’s main objective but Sire De Grugy has fine prospects of making the line-up. He missed much of last season through injury but ended his campaign by defeating former two-mile Champion Finian’s Rainbow in good style at Sandown.
That Grade 2 success meant that he started this season off a mark of 161 at Chepstow last month but he looks a good bit better than that after his latest triumph. Always going well under Jamie Moore, he quickly scooted eleven-lengths clear despite a mistake at the final fence.
There are question marks against most of his rivals on Sunday, the best of which may be Kid Cassidy. He ran a fine race when second to Alderwood in the Grand Annual Chase at the festival and may have been feeling the effects of that race when disappointing at Aintree.
Favourite backers had a difficult day on Saturday but can land an early blow with Henderson’s Lieutenant Miller in the opening Conditional Jockeys’ race. The seven-year-old has been a revelation on the flat this year, being placed in big handicaps at Ascot, Goodwood and in the Cesarewitch. He will be difficult to beat if he transfers that improvement to his hurdles form.
Sea Lord is likely to go off favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Trial at 1.35 with a disappointing turnout of just four runners. Lac Fontana is likely to set the pace having done so successfully at the last meeting but Sea Lord may have too much pace for these in the closing stages.
Raya Star and Dodging Bullets put their Arkle Trophy prospects to the test in the 2.10. Preference is just for Alan King’s former Scottish Champion Hurdle winner who should be suited by these conditions.
The feature race on the card is the Greatwood Hurdle at 3.15 in which Paul Nicholls and Daryl Jacob have excellent prospects with Sametegal. He had more in hand than his recent course and distance victory suggests and can just get the better of old rival Kashmir Peak.
Selections: 1.00 Lieutenant Miller (nb), 1.35 Sea Lord, 2.10 Raya Star, 2.40 Sire De Grugy (NAP), 3.15 Sametegal, 3.50 Carningli