Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival: Moore delivers critics perfect response in Champion Chase

Jamie Moore has spent the last few weeks telling the world they needed to respect Queen Mother Champion Chase favourite Sire De Grugy - now he's proved why.

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Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival: Moore delivers critics perfect response in Champion Chase
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Jamie Moore on Sire De Grugy celebrates winning the Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase at the Cheltenham Festival (Reuters)

When defending champion Sprinter Sacre pulled out of the £350,000 Cheltenham Festival showpiece, many in the racing world lined up to say why the Gary Moore trained eight-year old wasn't fit to replace him as favourite.

But Moore and his father kept the faith, putting aside those who worried about the horse's two previous defeats at Cheltenham, to secure the race for the 11/4 shot.

"He's not been given a lot of credit this season but he has proved today - at a track he hates and on ground he does not like - what a good horse he is," said Moore.

"We've got a great rapport. I love him to absolute pieces. It trains himself but it's still a great effort by Dad and the owners.

"He keeps winning and is an absolutely fabulous animal."

Father Gary was clearly emotional at the stylish win - and was quick to make a point about those who believed his charge wasn't good enough.

"It was all about Sprinter Sacre - and someone wrote the other day that this race should be done under the trades descriptions act because the Queen Mother Chase isn't right," he said.

"He can't do any more than he has done. Jamie knows what he is doing and has given the horse an absolute peach of a ride. I am just thrilled for all concerned."

Owner Rich Ricci was beaming after Ruby Walsh followed up on his first race win with Vautour yesterday to claim Wednesday's opener on Irish favourite Faugheen.

And Ricci's real big hope, super mare Annie Power, goes in Thursday's massively anticipated World Hurdle, where she'll showdown with four-time winner Big Buck's.

"He's a very hard horse to keep right but trainer Willie Mullins and Ruby have done a fantastic job with him," said Ricci.

Rebecca Curtis trained her third Festival winner, one each in consecutive years, as 12-1 shot O'Faolains Boy claimed the RSA Chase.

And her two previous winners, At Fishers Cross and Grand National hope Teaforthree, run in the next two days in the World Hurdle and Gold Cup respectively.

"Before Christmas our horses were not running great but we're peaking at the right time," she said.

"We were quite hopeful because this was a very wide open race."

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