Gary Moore believes luck will have to be on Sire De Grugy’s side if he is to win the 32Red Desert Orchid Chase for a second time at Kempton on Tuesday.
The 10-year-old lifted this Grade Two prize in 2013 in a renewal that is remembered for Sprinter Sacre being pulled up because of an irregular heartbeat.
However, that season belonged to Sire De Grugy as he went on to cap a stellar campaign with victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.
Twelve months ago, he went down by three-quarters of a length to a rejuvenated Sprinter Sacre following a battle royal.
And Sire De Grugy has shown he is no back number this term, winning a handicap at Ascot and running Un De Sceaux to a length in a thrilling renewal of the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown at the beginning of the month.
There may be no Sprinter Sacre in the line-up as he has been retired, but Special Tiara could be a stumbling block as Sire De Grugy has to concede 10lb to Henry de Bromhead’s raider.
Special Tiara defeated Sire De Grugy by three-quarters of a length in the 2015 Tingle Creek at level weights.
“He’s got his work cut out to give Special Tiara 10lb. It’s not going to be easy for him. I think that horse is going to have to have an off day,” said Moore.
“I’ve great concern about taking that horse on, but I’ve got to give it a go.
“It’s no penalty kick for him, but he’s in good form and I’m hoping he’ll run a big race”.
Sir Valentino may have started the 25-1 complete outsider of six for the Tingle Creek, but ran much better than his odds suggested when beaten less than six lengths in fifth place.
The seven-year-old had earlier won the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter and trainer Tom George believes Sir Valentino is still on the upgrade.
“He has been amazing and he just keeps on improving,” said the Slad handler.
“He was only beaten by five and a half lengths in the Tingle Creek on ground that was probably a bit soft for him.
“There was a few question marks about his jumping and that was a big learning curve for him going around Sandown at that pace.”
Dan Skelton’s Savello completes the list of four runners set to go to post.