ROCK On Ruby made a shuddering error at the third fence to end trainer Harry Fry’s hopes of glory in the Arkle Challenge Trophy.
The runner-up behind Hurricane Fly in last year’s Champion Hurdle, was soon back-pedalling and never looked likely to land a telling blow at Prestbury Park yesterday.
The Seaborough handler’s stable star's early mistakes robbed him of rhythm and he trailed in last of eight some 42 lengths adrift of surprise winner Western Warhorse.
A philosophical Fry spoke to the Echosport post race.
He said: “He was travelling well until one calamitous mistake, he went the pace and Noel Fehily (jockey) reported the ground was perfect for him.
“At this point, I am not even 100 per cent sure he will stay over fences. The main thing now is that he came out of the race okay and we live to fight another day.”
Today sees four Dorset runners with chances go to post in the Wetherbys Champion Bumper (5.15pm).
Anthony Honeyball, who trains in Mosterton, told the Echo on Monday that his Oscarteea (25-1) has been underestimated by the official handicapper to the tune of one stone.
He said: “He’s a very nice racehorse, won a strong bumper in Chepstow from which the fourth and fifth place horses have gone on to do good things.
“He ran very keen in the listed race next at Ascot and lost all his chances, he has the right pedigree and profile for this race.”
Fry was slightly less bullish about Assam Black.
He said: “He’ll be a great novice hurdler next season, won nicely in November, but this is a huge step up, doing everything nicely at home, we go there in hope rather than expectation”.
The Tizzard team saddle Royal Vacation (33-1) and Third Act (20-1), runners that should be respected given the stable’s record in this race, which they took in 2010 with a relative unknown by the now legendary name of Cue Card.
Elsewhere on the card, stalwart Hey Big Spender steps out of his comfort zone in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase while Midnight Thunder takes his place in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (1.30pm, 2m 5f).
Finally, Robert Walford runs Autra De La Cour in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle race (4.40).