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Racing column: Sire De Grugy stars at Ascot
Updated 11:00am Monday 20th January 2014 in Sport
SIRE De Grugy was the star of a fantastic weekend of racing from Ascot and Haydock, Gary Moore’s stable star waltzing home at a canter to win the Clarence House Chase at Ascot by 11 lengths.
The eight-year-old will head straight to Cheltenham for the BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase and he has been cut to 2/1 (from 3/1) second favourite with the sponsors; last year’s winner Sprinter Sacre the 4/6 favourite.
BetVictor are Non Runner No Bet on the race so if you place a bet on any runner and they don’t run, you will get your money back.
All of this weekend’s racing survived the elements but today’s meeting at Bangor unfortunately succumbed to the torrential weather and has been abandoned, leaving just Wolverhampton and Southwell for us to get us stuck into this afternoon.
At Wolverhampton Mark Johnston’s Summerfree (3.00) is a very confident selection in the extended mile and a half handicap.
He was well backed on handicap debut at Southwell and finished second, improving again when second to the Blue Dog at Lingfield, the pair pulling eight lengths clear of Nave back in third.
The winner is a mare thriving at the moment, subsequently winning hard held back at Wolverhampton on Friday night and Summerfree is taken to frank that form further and get his head in front at the sixth time of asking.
Spreadable (3.30) holds similar claims after landing a gamble at the track last week, the 3-y-o punted into even money favourite and bolting up by five lengths.
He should be difficult to beat under a penalty and stepped up in trip an extra furlong with Luke Morris keeping the ride.
Geoff Oldroyd’s Reggie Bond (4.30) can make it third time lucky in the nine furlong handicap, a beaten favourite twice since returning from a lengthy absence but well handicapped to make amends.
The 4-y-o has been beaten a short head and two lengths in two warm handicaps over course and distance but should be able to finally get his head in front with the plumb draw in stall two.
Robert Tart takes a very useful 3lb off and cheek-pieces are swapped for blinkers put on for the first time. Here’s hoping they do the trick.
Secular Society will be all the rage in the lucky last but he is worth taking on with the Brian Meehan stable with just two winners to their name since November. Ollie Pears’ course and distance winner Lean on Pete (5.30) can defy top weight and give the stable yet another course success, Powerful Pierre twice scoring at the track in the last month.
He has been dropped 4lb since his win here in October to be just 2lb behind that C&D win and with Jacob Butterfield taking off a further 5lb; he is taken to upset the jolly.
Southwell course specialist Mataajir (1.05) should be able to add to his tally of three wins round the track now stepped up in trip in the opener. The 6-y-o remains well handicapped on a surface that sees him put his best foot forward.
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