Ruby cut for Arkle after Doncaster stroll shows class
Rock On Ruby put himself firmly in the Arkle picture with an easy success at Doncaster and is now a 6/1 chance (from 8s) with Coral for his Cheltenham target.
The gelding maintained trainer Harry Fry’s incredible strike rate of over 50% with his chasers this season with an all-the-way success over Mr Mole win in the Eventmasters Corporate Hospitality Novices’ Chase.
The 2012 Champion Hurdle winner, who was sent off the 2/7 favourite, jumped well on the whole in the hands of Noel Fehily on just his second start over fences and had far too many gears for his sole rival.
His only semblance of a mistake came at the final fence where he pecked on landing, but Fehily quickly gathered him up and only had to push him out with hands and heels on the run-in to win by 10 lengths.
The winning trainer said: “I was very happy with him and Noel was happy. Noel said he felt much better than when he ran in his prep run for the Champion Hurdle here last year. He always turns the corner in January and March brings out the best in him.
“There are five weeks to go now and we’ll just put the finishing touches to it. He’s gone and attacked every fence and he just pecked after the last, so it’s all systems go now.
“He’s a nine-year-old, so has experience at the very highest level even though he hasn’t faced many horses this year.”
The nine-year-old now looks a live contender for the Arkle, especially if he gets the good going that he relishes.
However there is one big negative as far as the stats are concerned and that is his age, as only two horses aged nine have scored in the history of the race – Sir Ken in 1956 and Danish Flight in 1988.