A sad renewal of Doncaster’s Listed 32red Hurdle on Monday was won by Rock On Ruby (8g Oscar-Stony View, by Tirol), who is on course to defend his Champion Hurdle crown at Cheltenham next month.
The Doncaster contest was marred by the tragic death of Milan’s brilliant son Darlan, who lost his life when falling at the final hurdle.
The Harry Fry-trained Rock On Ruby, who was bred by John O’Dwyer, is set to now head straight to Cheltenham to defend his crown on March 12.
Fry told the Racing Post: “The whole season has been built around the Champion Hurdle and hopefully we can go there full of confidence. He’s come and done the job in a big race and that will bring him on for the big day. He’s a real tough horse.
“It was a good run in the conditions – he had never run in ground quite that testing. There was plenty of promise to be taken from that and we’ll move forward from today.”
But they were far from ideal circumstances in which to win and Fry reflected: “We didn’t want a scenario like that and commiserations to all Nicky (Henderson)’s team and to A P (McCoy) and J P (McManus).”