Rock on Ruby rocks in as The New One’s star continues to rise

Rock on Ruby breaks 22-month hurdle duck at Cheltenham while The New One makes it three in three

The New One riden by jockey Sam Twiston-Davies (R) jumps the final hurdle with Vaniteux riden by Barry Geraghty to win the StanJames.com International Hurdle Race at Cheltenham (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

The New One riden by jockey Sam Twiston-Davies (R) jumps the final hurdle with Vaniteux riden by Barry Geraghty to win the StanJames.com International Hurdle Race at Cheltenham (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

 

Rock On Ruby returned to winning ways in the Grade Two Osborne House Relkeel Hurdle over an extended two and a half miles.

The 2012 champion hurdler ably delivered as the 5-4 favourite with a pretty authoritative effort under Noel Fehily.

Harry Fry’s nine-year-old gained a clear-cut advantage three out after long-time leader Brother Brian began to feel the pinch.

Volnay De Thaix did an honourable job of attempting to make a race of it, but Rock On Ruby appeared to be going away again at the line and was two and a quarter lengths to the good.

Fehily said: “He’s just a great horse. He’s been very good to me — I love him to bits.

“He’s just so tough and travelled great and jumped great.”

Fry said: “It’s great to see him back in the winner’s enclosure at Cheltenham. While he’s obviously not a slow horse, this is more his trip nowadays.

“I won’t make a commitment yet over the World Hurdle. There’s a race over a similar distance as this back here on New Year’s Day and we’ll come back for that first.

“The conditions of the race suited him perfectly today, so it’s good that he won.

“Aintree is another option for him at the end of the season, having run so well there last season.”

Meanwhile The New One made it three wins in as many starts this term as he stamped his authority on the StanJames.com International Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Sent off the 4-7 favourite for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, The New One was settled in second by the trainer’s son, Sam, as Zamdy Man opened up a sizeable early lead before being reeled back in at around the halfway point.

The New One was noted travelling well but his main market rival Vaniteux was matching his every stride, with the pair settling down to battle it out at the top of the hill.

Olofi tried to go with them but as the front pair upped it a notch, he was left behind, with Vaniteux trying his best to edge out the market leader.

However, The New One found plenty for his jockey’s encouragement up the hill and eventually came home a four-and-a-half-length winner.

Sam Twiston-Davies said: “He’s excellent. Coming into the race, we had to win it to become a Champion Hurdle contender.

“He wasn’t flashy, but when he comes to the track he does what he needs to.”

Ryan Hatch revelled in the role as super-sub when he combined with Blaklion to take the spoils in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Jamie Moore was due to ride Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge in the Grade Two heat but following a fall in the preceding race, he was stood down and Hatch took over the reins.

The conditional rider looked confident throughout aboard the 9-4 shot, sitting on the heels of the pacesetting Parish Business before making a notable move with three flights still to jump.

When Hatch gave the signal, Blaklion easily seized control and despite conceding upwards of 3lb all round, he was galloping all over his rivals at the top of the hill.

Hatch just had to keep him up to his work over the last two flights to go on and win by 11 lengths.

Hatch said: “Thanks to Nigel and the owners. Someone has to ride him and luckily it was me. I’m delighted.

“I thought he was maybe travelling a bit too well but he has a touch of class and I gave him a kick in the belly and he took off.”

Twiston-Davies said: “We hope he goes to the top. He’s obviously a stayer.

“He’d been point-to-pointing in Ireland before we got him and he’s always been lovely, but we didn’t think he’d be this good.

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