Sussex racing celebrates one of its greatest days

Jamie Moore and Sire De Grugy
Jamie Moore and Sire De Grugy

The Moore family secured top-level Cheltenham Festival success when Sire De Grugy justified his favourite’s tag to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

West Sussex-based trainer Gary Moore looked emotional as he welcomed the new champion into the winner’s enclosure after his son Jamie had partnered the French-bred runner to a brilliant victory in the BetVictor-sponsored feature race of day two at Cheltenham.

The success made it one of the great days for Sussex racing and Moore senior said: “It annoys me that people don’t give him the credit he deserves. It was all about Sprinter Sacre and someone wrote the other day that this race should be done under the trade descriptions act because the Queen Mother Chase isn’t right.

“He can’t do any more then what he has done. He has gone out there today and done it. Jamie knows what he is doing and he has given the horse an absolute peach of a ride. I am so thrilled for everybody concerned.

“There’s a lot of people who deserve thanks for this. I have never had so many text messages - it started at six o’clock this morning - and I am just glad he has won for them as much as anyone else.

“I watched it until the last and then I couldn’t see any more - there were too many people in the way.

“It’s Jamie’s first Festival winner and the other jockeys coming out afterwards proved how popular Jamie is. And seeing Ryan (Moore) there as well. It meant quite a lot. It probably has been done before but I haven’t seen it done for a long time.

“This means so much to me and my family. It’s something I thought could happen but these things don’t happen very often. I suppose I’m very lucky to have such a great family. I’m proud of all of them.

“The horse is such a professional and very easy to train. He did tread on a stone ten days ago, which was a bit of a worry, but he was right the next day.

“The race couldn’t have gone any better. I said to Jamie I’d rather he got there too late than too early and he did it perfectly.”

Jamie Moore, gaining his first winner at the Festival, said: “It is tremendous. The horse hasn’t been given any credit this season and he has proved today, at a track he hates and on ground he does not like, what a good horse he is.

“It is all about Sire De Grugy who is a horse I have had a lot to do with - it is brilliant.

“Me and this horse - we have got a good rapport - I love him to absolute pieces. Its all down to him - he trains himself. It’s a great effort by dad and the owners as well.

“Sire De Grugy has had no credit this season as far as I am concerned. But he keeps winning and is an absolutely fabulous animal.

“All the boys (fellow jockeys) have come out of the weighing room and it is just great to have a really nice horse. I love this horse - apart from my family, he is next best. He has been an absolute star to me.

“Lucy, my wife, and my two girls are here. Ryan came down as well, Hayley is at home, Josh is at Huntingdon and my mum and dad are here. It’s tremendous. These days don’t come around for a jockey like myself and today it has done.

“We have both proved that we can do it. I thought it was a competitive enough race. They went flat out - he travelled around, he has jumped brilliant and he has picked up when I asked him.

“It is a tremendous training performance by dad. He ran five times in two months and won all of them bar one. We have given him a break and brought him back which just shows that dad can train them hard or soft.

“Even Ryan said I gave him a good ride so I am pleased about that. I had never ridden a Festival winner so that plays on your mind a little bit.

“He is a horse I have great belief in. I ride him out every day. I rode him this morning and I do believe he can do everything he wants to do. Today everything clicked and he listened to me. When I sat he popped, when I asked him, he came up for me and when I gave him a kick after the last he went again. He is a real trier and really tough horse.

“I said to Ruby (Walsh) at the top of the hill ‘What should I do now - I am still going well’ - Ruby said just follow Special Tiara.I have to thank Ruby as well in a bit.

“This race is a proper Grade One and it means a lot to us. Everybody in racing works hard - we all stick the shift in. We are very close family and I am glad I can tell my daughters that I have achieved something.

“It is very nice to know that we are quite well liked. I know everybody seems to hate Ryan but he is not that bad!”

His brother, the three-time Champion Flat jockey Ryan Moore, remarked: “I am really pleased for Jamie - I thought he gave the horse a most beautiful ride. Jamie has waited a long time for this.”