Trainer Gary Moore updates us on leading Betway Champion Chase contender’s rehabilitation
I feared the worst when he (Sire De Grugy) injured himself in the build up to the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham in November. In all the years I’ve been training (and that’s been a hell of a long time), I can never remember another horse injuring his hip before.
It was such a strange injury as he just did it rolling. He got to his feet but was in a desperate way and couldn’t weight bear. I cannot tell you how desperate it looked at the time as he just stood there and I was convinced it was a tibial stress fracture or he’d done his pelvis.
Most horses don’t have great pain thresholds, but he isn’t like most horses. He is very tough. In fact, he’s as hard as nails. He is like Rocky Marciano and certainly wouldn’t make a fuss or fake an injury like a professional footballer! That’s what really scared me as I know he brushes most things off.
So, we took it real steady and at first he had a month’s box rest. Funnily enough, even though we had to tread carefully, if I’d known the injury wasn’t as serious as first feared, we might have got him ready for the Clarence House or even the Tingle Creek.
Anyway, after a month in his box, we moved him onto the walker and from there into light canters. Well, he’s really beginning to flourish at home as he just loves exercise and life.
I’m thrilled to report that he cantered upside his work companion Knight Of Pleasure for the first time yesterday morning (Wednesday). He’ll canter again today (Thursday) and then three more times on Friday. We’ll see how he gets on with that and we’ll be stepping his workload up gradually each day from now.
I’ve been asked how hard we are currently working him and I’d say he’d currently be doing a swinging canter up to half speed. We’ve got until 7th February to get him ready for the Game Spirit and he’ll go there unless the ground is firm and we all know there’s no chance of that.
If disaster struck and the weather did claim Newbury’s meeting, we’d have to do something with him because there is no chance we could go straight to the Betway Champion Chase without a prep run. I could even look to run him in a hurdle race if necessary, but fingers crossed we don’t have to go down that route.