Moore eyes Christmas cracker

Sire De Grugy on his way to glory in the Tingle Creek at Sandown
Sire De Grugy on his way to glory in the Tingle Creek at Sandown
Markov and jockey Tom Bellamyon their way to victory. Picture: Fontwell Park

Honeyball hat-trick lights up Fontwell

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Gary Moore is targetting a showdown with Sprinter Sacre.

But he is unlikely to let Saturday’s Tingle Creek hero Sire De Grugy scrap with the chasing superstar at Cheltenham in March.

Instead, he will seek a Christmas clash in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton on Friday, December 27.

‘I know we have to take Sprinter Sacre on at some point and I’d rather it was there,’ said the West Sussex trainer and Fontwell favourite.

‘If I want to swerve him I can go to Leopardstown but I’d say he’ll go to Kempton.

‘He won’t necessarily go to Cheltenham as I think he needs a more conventional track.

‘For some people it’s the be all and end all but not me.

‘I’d like to take him to France at some stage.’

After Sprinter Sacre was withdrawn from the Tingle Creek last week, the 169-rated Sire De Grugy rose to the head of the market for the two-mile Grade 1 Sandown feature.

The seven-year-old son of My Risk was ultimately sent off the 7/4 joint-favourite and comfortably beat Somersby by four lengths with Moore’s son Jamie in the saddle.

‘It’s special to have a Grade 1 winner with our horse and Jamie riding it.

‘It all went to plan for a change.

‘He’s got a big heart and he’s very genuine because it wasn’t really his ground. He wants softer.

‘But it means the world and it just goes to show it doesn’t matter what you pay for them. He was cheap.

‘A lot of top people passed him over but Jamie said “you’ve got to buy this horse as soon as you can”.