ROCK On Ruby warmed up for the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham with an all-the-way win in the Eventmasters Corporate Hospitality Novices’ Chase at Doncaster.
Noel Fehily’s mount had to do the donkey work over his sole rival Mr Mole in a match for the extended two-mile contest, and did his Festival claims no harm in the process.
Jumping well on the whole, the 2012 Champion Hurdle victor gained valuable experience on just his second start over fences ahead of his big date next month.
Harry Fry’s charge was sent off the 2-7 favourite and pulled away from Tony McCoy and Mr Mole on the run-in to win without being asked a serious question, despite a slight blip at the last.
Rock On Ruby was cut to 6-1 from 9s for the Arkle with Paddy Power.
Fehily said: “I was delighted. He didn’t put a foot wrong apart from when he pecked from the back of the last.
“AP (McCoy on Mr Mole) came to join us three out but he was good on his feet and did everything I asked of him.
“Harry always says he’s a different horse at this time of year and he felt much fitter than at Plumpton.
“The ground is dead and tacky and he likes to bounce of it really, but I was delighted with him.”
Fry 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.”