Gary Moore is praying for a return to wet weather so that Sire De Grugy can defend his crown in the Celebration Chase at Sandown on 26 April.

It was in this Grade Two last spring that the eight-year-old established himself as a top-class two-mile performer when defeating Finian's Rainbow.

He has gone on to greater heights this term, chalking up three Grade One triumphs culminating in the Grade One Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham last month.

Moore reports his stable star to be in tremendous nick, but he will not risk him at Sandown, his only possible remaining engagement this season, unless he is happy with ground conditions.

"He seems in great order and couldn't be better," said the West Sussex handler.

"We're very happy with him - now we want some rain. The forecast isn't looking great, but hopefully we will get some rain. We've only got a couple of weeks now.

"It's ground permitting, he won't go otherwise. There definitely has to be some cut in the ground."