Fry made it clear that the William Hill – Download the App Hurdle was a chance to give Rock On Ruby an outing, and he wasn’t that bothered about the outcome. He said, “We thought we’d get a nice run into him and we’ve ended up on a collision course with probably the most exciting young horse in the Champion Hurdle picture. It’s an ideal opportunity for him on good ground and we’ll know a lot more about where he is afterwards as we want to step him up in trip for Ascot (in the Coral Hurdle).
Obviously we’d rather The New One wasn’t running, but it’s not the end of the world if we get beaten on Sunday. The way he won the Neptune was very impressive and I see a lot of similarities with him and Rock On Ruby.”
The early season for Rock On Ruby is a race each month, with the Coral Hurdle next month, and Cheltenham’s International Hurdle (formerly the Bula Hurdle) in December. That’s a different campaign to last season, when he didn’t appear until the International Hurdle.
Twiston-Davies appeared unconcerned about tackling one of the leading older horses, saying of The New One, “He’s in good form. We knew Rock On Ruby would be going there but we’re keen to go anyway. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.”
Sunday’s race is unlikely to have a major bearing on the Champion Hurdle next year, so bookmaker prices probably won’t change much afterwards. But they have a clear view on which of the two has the better chance come March. The New One is a bet priced 8/1 with Ladbrokes, whilst you can back Rock On Ruby at 20/1 with race sponsor Stan James.