Sire de Grugy continued to propel his owners into a dreamlike state as he powered to a comfortable success in the GI Clarence House Chase at Ascot.
Trained by Gary Moore, Sire de Grugy has grabbed every opportunity by the scruff of the neck thus far this season, including taking on Sprinter Sacre in the GII Desert Orchid Chase last time out, and has rewarded his connections with their continued desire to race their gelding against the very best.
With three fences to go in the Ascot feature, Sire de Grugy produced a leap of some magnitude to make up considerable ground on his rivals, ensuring that that leap would push him up inbetween the leaders and in the perfect position to challenge for victory with any amount of petrol still left in the tank of this stunning French bred star.
Victory in the GI Clarence House Chase marked the second Grade I victory of the season for Sire de Grugy, and a fourth victory in total, from a chaser who has provided the Moore family with a much deserved run of success after being exceptionally keen to purchase the gelding many years ago.
"Fair credit to the horse, he is really becoming the full package and this is only his second season" said winning trainer Gary Moore, who's internationally succesfull son Ryan was at the course to witness his father's second Grade 1 success, "His great assest is his jumping, he has to go for the Champion Chase now. I've got two months to freshen him up and will give him a nice break for a couple of weeks before bringing him back fresh".
The match up with Sprinter Sacre in Cheltenham's Champion Chase is one which many will now want to see, however it is of obvious concern that Sire de Grugy has failed to show his real ability on both prior visits to that racecourse.
Whether it is a case of Sire de Grugy struggling to handle the unique contours of Cheltenham, or whether it is just a matter of both races being run at a pace which was not suitable, the prices on offer for him to follow up his stunning progression this season is not one which will be taken any time soon.
Sire de Grugy is a delight to watch, and a welcome star that has taken the Champion Chase division by storm, but it may be in Sandown's GI Celebration Chase where we next see his stunning ability be truly showcased.
On the undercard, Ascot became a place for Noel Fehily to dominate with a tally of sublime rides perfectly complimenting the sheer determination and incredible quality that Fehily provides in the saddle.
Victories aboard Irish Saint and Bury Parade, both for Paul Nicholls, showcased the ability of Fehily to judge a race quickly and accurately whilst also showing his versatility to excel no matter the quirks or differentials of a horse, but it was aboard Highland Retreat for Harry Fry on which he truly excelled.
Seemingly a sitting duck with two flights to go, Fehily urged his mare for every ounce of her ability in the run in and, despite being headed after the final hurdle, switched his mount towards the leader ensuring that any chance of idling was quickly repelled.
Fehily would urge Highland Retreat home in front as part of a 235-1 treble at Ascot.