Ruby tops nine for Elite Hurdle at Wincanton

THE NEW ONE and Sam Twiston Davies win at Aintree 3/4/14

Rock On Ruby (centre) chases home The New One at Aintree in April

  PICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)  

ROCK ON RUBY, winner of the 2012 Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, will take on eight rivals in the Grade 2 Stanjames.com Elite Hurdle at Wincanton on Saturday.

Trained by Harry Fry for The Festival Goers, Rock On Ruby switched from hurdles to fences last season, winning his first two starts before finishing down the field in the Racing Post Arkle.

That run prompted Fry to return his stable star to hurdles and he produced a high-class performance to be defeated just a head by The New One at Aintree on his final start.

The nine-year-old carries top weight in the Elite Hurdle and writing in his Stan James blog, Fry said: “We’re happy with him at home and, as I keep saying, the ground’s the most important thing for him these days and we’re looking forward to him reappearing at the weekend. He’s a bit more forward than he has been for a couple of seasons.”

Purple Bay and Irving lead the challenge to Rock On Ruby with the former Champion Hurdle winner having to concede 6lb and 12lb respectively to his opponents.

Fry added: “It’s not going to be an easy task giving weight away to some potentially very good second-season hurdlers.  He’s got nothing to prove and he’d raise the roof if he was to win but it’ll be great just to get him back out on track and hopefully we’ll have a another good season with him.”

Forgotten Voice, Fox Norton, Bertimont, Fergall, Hint Of Mint and Starluck complete the nine-runner field.

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