Rock On Ruby will avoid soft option

Rock On Ruby and jockey Noel Fehily
Rock On Ruby and jockey Noel Fehily
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ROCK On Ruby, the 2012 Champion Hurdle hero, will continue his novice chasing career at Doncaster next Wednesday, ground permitting.

Harry Fry’s runner will miss his intended race at Plumpton on Sunday because of the forecast heavy ground.

Instead he will head to Yorkshire in five days as long as conditions on Town Moor are no worse than good to soft.

Rock On Ruby is no stranger to Doncaster having prevailed at the track in February last year in a race marred by the fatal final-flight fall of Nicky Henderson’s Darlan.

A creditable second to Hurricane Fly in the following month’s Champion Hurdle, Fry switched his stable star to the larger obstacles after Rock On Ruby was soundly beaten by the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained The New One on his seasonal reappearance at Kempton.

He won a facile chase at Plumpton and will be hoping for stiffer competition at Doncaster which will determine whether the nine-year-old will be a serious player in the Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival.

“It’s unlikely he’ll run at Plumpton. The ground is heavy there. He’ll probably go to Doncaster on the Wednesday,” said Fry’s assistant Ciara O’Connor.

“It will be the same situation there though. We will only run him if the ground is okay. We’re not going to slog him out on heavy, soft ground again.

“We’ll just take it one step at a time and just hope the rain will eventually stop.

“The horse is in great order. He’s grown a couple of inches since he started jumping fences. We’re looking forward to getting him out again.”

Rock On Ruby’s success and profile has been instrumental in the blossoming of his veteran rider Noel Fehily, who partnered Silviniaco Conti to victory in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

He also prevailed on the Fry-trained Bitofapuzzle at Huntingdon yesterday

John Quinn has expressed his delight with Racing Pulse, even though his exciting prospect lost his 100 per cent record at a saturated Cheltenham on Wednesday.

The five-year-old did not give up when third to Aubusson in the Neptune Ivestment Management Novices’ Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs run in extremely difficult conditions.

Quinn reports the ex-Mick Winters-trained Racing Pulse to be none the worse for the experience and may run him closer to home next at Doncaster in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle over an extended three miles on January 25.

“He’s absolutely fine. The ground was very heavy, but I was very pleased with him,” said the North Yorkshire handler.

“I don’t exactly know what we’ll do with him yet, but maybe at the end of the month there’s a race at Doncaster. We’ll probably go there with him.”

Top trainer Alan King has closed his yard for “a week or so” after continuing concerns about the health of his string.

“It is frustrating, but we need to be patient and do the right thing by the horses, so until they come right again it is best to take a pull,” he said.

“Maybe a few years ago I would not have handled a similar situation so well and would have soldiered on, but you learn by experience and if they are not right you have to be very careful.”

An inspection today will determine whether tomorrow’s televised card at Wincanton can go-ahead – the Somerset track has been hit by waterlogging - while Sandown’s Tolworth Hurdle card on the same day hangs in the balance.

Top Northern jump jockey Jason Maguire was last night being linked to the high-profile Giggingstown Stud role in Ireland after Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary dismissed Davy Russell on New Year’s Eve.

It had been assumed that 21-year-old rising star Bryan Cooper would succeed Russell, but he is keen to stay loyal to his current boss Dessie Hughes, who has guided the formative years of his career.

Maguire is attached to Grand National-winning trainer Donald McCain’s yard. However, he is understood to be frustrated by his lack of big race opportunities – he rode at Catterick rather than Cheltenham on New Year’s Day – and only has a remote chance of denying AP McCoy a 19th consecutive jockeys’ title.

Silly Billy’s win at Southwell yesterday was a first success in 2014 for Malton trainer Brian Ellison as he looks to eclipse his 105 victories of last year.