Horse Racing News – 20 February 2015

Sire De Grugy set for Chepstow, AP McCoy confirms Gold Cup mount and could Jason Maguire miss Cheltenham?

Sire De Grugy

We’ve been reporting a lot recently on Sire De Grugy’s preparations for Cheltenham and he now looks almost certain to run at Chepstow this Saturday. Trainer Gary Moore has been monitoring him very closely this week after schooling on Tuesday and Thursday and has all but confirmed his entrance for the 15.35 at Chepstow, a handicap chase of two miles. The nine-year-old remains among the favourites behind Sprinter Sacre for the Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

McCoy Opts for Carlingford Lough

19-time champion jockey AP McCoy has now confirmed he will take the ride on Carlingford Lough in this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, his final before retiring. The 40-year-old legend has won the Gold Cup twice before and a hat-trick would be a fitting end to his Cheltenham career. He won on Synchronised and Mr Mulligan but turned down the chance to go with Holywell this year, despite Carlingford Lough currently being priced at 12/1 with Holywell a shade shorter. Carlingford Lough is trained by John Kiely and won on his last outing at Leopardstown on the 8th February.

Jason Maguire Could Miss Cheltenham

One man whose Cheltenham destiny is far less clear is Jason Maguire after the 34-year-old was handed a 14-day ban following a race at Ludlow on Wednesday. The ban is scheduled for the 4th to the 17th March and was given to Maguire for having been deemed to have been “schooling/conditioning the horse on the racecourse”. Under the “non-triers” rule he was given the ban, which he will appeal, after bringing home Born To Succeed seventh in the Onny Maiden Hurdle, some 23+ lengths behind the winner.

The British Horseracing Authority said “The rider stated that his instructions were to drop the gelding in and get him settled and then to do his best work late on.” Whilst they also noted that “The trainer confirmed that the rider had ridden in accordance with his instructions and added that Born To Succeed is an extremely nervous horse at home.”

Beyond confirming his intention to appeal Maguire had no comment to offer regarding the ban but if he does miss Cheltenham it will be a huge blow after he missed the Festival last year through injury.