Sire De Grugy wins at Chepstow; Rocky Creek in Kempton triumph
Champion chaser Sire De Grugy won comfortably at Chepstow in his prep race for the Cheltenham Festival.
The 5-4 favourite, ridden by Jamie Moore for trainer father Gary, beat Grey Gold by seven lengths.
Rocky Creek (8-1), trained by Paul Nicholls, was a convincing winner of the Betbright Chase at Kempton.
Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies guided the nine-year-old, who was fifth in last year's Grand National, to a six-length success.
Earlier Milborough (18-1) saw off the challenge of Summery Justice to claim the Eider Chase at Newcastle.
Meanwhile, Irish trainer Gordon Elliott said Roi Du Mee could go for the National in April after winning the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse.
At Chepstow, Sire De Grugy gave weight away to his rivals in the handicap chase and got his season back on track after unseating his rider on his comeback run a fortnight earlier.
"Last season we were very lucky, this season it's gone a bit Pete Tong (wrong)," jockey Moore told At The races. "I wouldn't swap him for anything (at Cheltenham). I love him to bits."
Bookmakers reacted by cutting his odds for the Champion Chase to about 3-1 from 7s before the race.
Rocky Creek was another to see his price contract for a big race - now 20-1 from 25s for the National on 11 April.
Nicholls said the horse would skip the Festival and go straight to Aintree despite having the chance of being placed in the Gold Cup.
Twiston-Davies said: "We always felt better ground and Aintree would suit him. He ran a good race last year and this year I'd take a bit more time with him."
Beltor (3-1), ridden by Tom O'Brien for trainer Robert Stephens, won the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle and is now around a 12-1 chance for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham.