Following on from my tip for Prospect Wells in both the Ladbroke Hurdle at the weekend and the Supreme Novices at the Cheltenham Festival my attentions turn to another Paul Nicholls runner with a view to landing Champion Hurdle glory.
Campaigned over longer trips last season, Rock On Ruby returned with a massive performance on the clock to crush a ludicrously well handicapped Empire Levant in some style at Newbury giving away 24lb to his well fancied stable mate.
That performance came off a mark of 145, and given he will improve for that seasonal return he looks an exciting prospect for the Ditcheat handler this season where many expected him to be going novice chasing.
Although he has run excellent races over further, Rock On Ruby is unbeaten (accounting for his debut defeat) in five attempts at running the minimum distance in both Bumpers and Hurdles and heads towards the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day, and should he win that (and I think he will) his price will collapse with a view to the Champion Hurdle in March.
Oscar has proven himself a very decent stallion so far, and has proven equally adept at getting distance chasers to fast hurdlers; Peddlers Cross was second in this race last year to Hurricane Fly. Oscar also has Oscars Whisky and Oscars Well in the Champion Hurdle entries and it all bodes well for Rock On Ruby dropping back to the minimum distance in the highest grade over hurdles.
Istabraq, Hardy Eustace, Brave Inca and Hurricane Fly are but a few that have won a Champion Hurdle that had previously raced over further which adds further to the case of Rock On Ruby being effective back down in trip.
With doubts surrounding the current participation of Hurricane Fly, and questions about whether Binocular is now on the decline it paves the way for something from the new brigade to come through and show their hand in the greatest race over two miles.
We have yet to see Spirit Son and Zarkandar, and either of those could have improved heaps over the summer, and I know plenty is thought about Spirit Son (who ran massive at Cheltenham and Aintree) but he hasn’t been seen yet and Rock On Ruby has already done it on the clock to make me want to get involved.
If I was Paul Nicholls I would run Rock On Ruby in the Christmas Hurdle, and then put him away until the Champion Hurdle in March. I have been watching him closely with the recent best laser rangefinder and he has proven his capability to run exceptionally well fresh, and this would enable them to also go and run in the Aintree Hurdle after taking in the Champion at the Festival.
Antepost: Champion Hurdle
1pt win Rock On Ruby @ 20-1 with Bet365, StanJames, WilliamHill, SkyBet[/notification_box]