Friday 15 December 2017

Cheltenham 2015: Sire De Grugy is set to strike

Sire de Grugy, ridden by Jamie Moore, won the BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase
Sire de Grugy, ridden by Jamie Moore, won the BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase

Five winners on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival was a dream start for the Irish at Cheltenham but feature race glory on day two is likely to stay on home soil as Sire De Grugy bids to win the race for a second time.

Champagne Fever will have something to say about that possibly, but Sire De Grugy just seems to be coming back right at the perfect time.

Sprinter Sacre has his issues now but if he was to come back to his very best, he’ll win this comfortably, the problem is, he is unlikely to do so.

It would be fantastic to see Willie Mullins’ incredible week continue with a win for Champagne Fever, who was very impressive at Gowran Park, but Sire De Grugy probably didn’t get the credit he deserved until Cheltenham last year and at his best, he probably has the beating of Champagne Fever.

While he may lose out on the big race of the afternoon, Willie Mullins could start today with a Gigginstown House Stud double with Outlander in the opening Neptune Novices’ Hurdle followed by Don Poli in the RSA Chase.

The decision of connections of Coneygree to go for the Gold Cup has really left this race for the taking for Don Poli and as a potential Gold Cup horse in time himself, this looks like the ideal stepping stone.

Don Poli has been said to be cut from the same cloth as Sir Des Champs who himself developed into a Gold Cup contender and Don Poli will hopefully follow in those steps.

Outlander impressed when winning at Leopardstown last time out and looks to be fulfilling the potential he promised when mopping up in bumpers a couple of seasons ago.

Unsurprisingly, Patrick Mullins has opted for Bordini in the Champion Bumper, while Ruby is on Bellshill but it is the mount of David Mullins, Pylononthepressure that gets the nod on this occasion but this really is a wide open race and it would be no surprise if we had a repeat of something like Briar Hill’s 25/1 surprise a few years ago.

Cronin's Choice: Cheltenham Today

1.30 Outlander

2.05 Don Poli

2.40 Activial


1 Sire De Grugy

2 Champagne Fever

3 Dodging Bullets

4.00 Sire Collonges

4.40 Gwencily Berbas

5.15 Pylonthepressure



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