Gary Moore’s Sire De Grugy to show his Champion quality in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot
Tingle Creek winning Sire De Grugy will take another step on the road to the Cheltenham Festival this afternoon when he takes on his rivals in the Clarence House Chase. With the doubts surrounding Sprinter Sacre, Moore’s chaser looks to be a real contender for the Queen Mother Champion Chase in March. The only worry for connections today may be the stamina sapping ground and Somersby who goes well at Ascot. If he is punters fancy for the big two-miler at the Festival Crockford advises a bet before the off today.
At Haydock the Peter Marsh Chase (3.15) has attracted an interesting group of runners if not the quality of some previous fields. Merry King has just been outside the frame at the top level this season and will have the stamina to cope well with the conditions. Last year Katenko relished the soft ground and if anywhere near the form that saw him win at Cheltenham would have to be respected. It is worth remembering that he was once spoken of as a Gold Cup horse.
In the Champion Hurdle Trial (2.40) Melodic Rendevous has his ground and should show his quality. The once highly promising Dunguib who on his last start finished eighth in the 2011 Champion Hurdle will look to make a winning return in the Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas (1.00).
Crockford’s Dead Cert – Sire De Grugy (Ascot 3.35)
Impressive throughout this season, Moore’s chaser will look to seal his champion potential in the Clarence House Chase. All of the indications are that he will win again this afternoon having already beaten Somersby his main rival this season. He is a Dead Cert if he lasts home.
Crockford’s Whisper – Gus Macrae e/w (Ascot 3.00)
Winner at the track last season and second here back in December. With the talented Patrick Corbett booked he has an outstanding chance of going one better this time.
Archer’s Selection – Merry King (Haydock 3.15)
Archer would have noticed the performances that this talented horse has put in the Welsh Grand National and Hennessy. On a low weight Archer would have taken the booking
Crockford’s Gambles around the courses:
Ascot – Utopie Des Bordes e/w and Tweedledrum e/w (1.50), The Skyfarmer and Irish Saint e/w (2.25), Gus Macrae e/w (3.00) and Sire De Grugy (3.35)
Haydock – Champagne Rian (12.20), Trustan Times (12.55), Taquin Du Seuil (1.30), Un Temps Pour Tout (2.05), Melodic Rendevous (2.40) and Merry King (3.15)
Taunton – Horizontal Speed (12.30) and Lienosus e/w (1.40)
Naas – Dunguib (1.00)
(Featured photograph – Sire De Grugy at Cheltenham by Stuart Rice)