Gary Moore ponders blinkers option for Sire De Grugy

Gary Moore has raised the possibility of Sire De Grugy wearing a pair of blinkers as he attempts to regain his Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase crown next week.

Gary Moore ponders blinkers option for Sire De Grugy

Second to Un De Sceaux in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot when last seen, Moore will school the 10-year-old in the headgear and then make a decision.

“The plan is to school him tomorrow and we’re going to pop a pair of blinkers on him for the first time,” Moore said.

“That’s not because he’s ungenuine or anything like that, it’s just to see whether it sharpens him up a bit.

“He’s that bit older and wiser, and if they can eke out a tiny bit of improvement, it may just get us that bit closer to Un De Sceaux.

“If he goes well in them, then there is every chance he may wear them next week at Cheltenham. We will make that decision nearer to the time, though.

“I was delighted to hear that they had proper rain at Cheltenham last night and will be even more thrilled if it rains next Tuesday night too!

“As for the rest of the week and Sire De Grugy’s build-up, we plan to take him to the beach again in the next few days like we have done every year.

“It’s become part of his Cheltenham preparation and he just seems to love it there.”

Moore’s remarks came on the same day as Cheltenham’s clerk of the course Simon Claisse has reported the track to be soft all round with just six days to go until the start of the Festival.

Heavy rain fell in the Cotswolds overnight, but there is a predominantly dry forecast from now until the showpiece meeting gets under way next Tuesday.

Claisse said: “We had 24 millimetres of rain overnight which has left the course soft all round. There is tiny spit in the air, but the outlook is mostly dry and it’s also due to turn milder.

“I’m happy the rain has come today and not this time next week.”

Asked about the prospect of watering, Claisse added: “That does not feature in our current plans.”

Meanwhile, BetVictor has been announced as the new sponsor of the feature event at Cheltenham’s Open meeting in November.

The fixture has been backed by Paddy Power since 2003 and is one of the highlights of the National Hunt season.

As Paddy Power have yet to sign up to the British Horseracing Authority’s Authorised Betting Partner (ABP) scheme, Cheltenham and the Jockey Club were looking for a new backer for the extended two-and-a-half-mile heat.

BetVictor, which has recently become an ABP, has signed a three-year deal to sponsor the BetVictor Gold Cup, won by Annacotty last year.

Part of the new deal also sees BetVictor providing on-course betting shop facilities at the Festival next week.

Andreas Meinrad, BetVictor’s chief executive, said: “As part of our ongoing commitment to British racing, we are delighted to announce a number of commercial initiatives with Cheltenham during 2016 and beyond.

“We will be playing our part at next week’s Cheltenham Festival by offering punters betting facilities in the Sovereign (Bar in the main grandstand) and by branding the ‘BetVictor Blimp’, which will again provide Channel 4 viewers with unique aerial coverage of all the action.

“We are also thrilled to be the feature sponsor at The Open in November for the next three years, backing the BetVictor Gold Cup.

“As an Authorised Betting Partner, we are delighted that these opportunities have become available.”

  • Gordon Elliott last night ruled Kim Muir Challenge Cup favourite Our Father out of Cheltenham.

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