With his younger, less-experienced rival stretching clear to a ten-length victory, Rock on Ruby’s defeat at the hands of The New One at Kempton has left Harry Fry scratching his head as to what to do with the 2012 Champion Hurdle winner.
The eight-year-old has often needed his first run of the season, but it was a lacklustre effort even by those standards, and plans are now up in the air.
Fry has mooted a couple of possible procedures for his charge;
“Possibly we’ll look at his wind again and we could cauterise his palate. If we took that action you wouldn’t see him for a good eight weeks…It [his breathing] has always been an issue, which is why we have always tried to run him on as good ground as possible”.
A two and a half length defeat to Hurricane Fly at last year’s Festival was a fairly respectable result, but the impressive nature of the previous year’s novices, such as Our Connor and My Tent or Yours, as well as his Kempton conqueror, saw his odds touch 25/1 in places after the race for the 2014 Champion Hurdle.
But now, with his participation in doubt, the eight-year-old has been removed from Ladbrokes’ market for the contest completely.
But while one contender’s chance begins to fade, The New One blasted to the top of the betting with a very impressive display.
The 2012 Neptune Novices Hurdle winner looked every bit a future champion, showing an emphatic turn of foot to land Kempton’s Listed hurdle on Sunday.
That victory has resulted in Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge now leading the betting for the Festival’s opening day feature, priced at 7/2, ahead of Hurricane Fly at 4/1.
With a Cheltenham win already to his name, and form on all sorts of ground it won’t be surprising to see support come in for the second season hurdler between now and March.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing