A lively outsider for the Ryanair Chase emerged from the mud of Gowran Park on Saturday when the Robbie Hennessy-trained Rubi Light put up a fine performance to land the Grade 2 Red Mills Chase, writes Elliot Slater.
Hennessy, who handles the formerly smart Sublimity,(the horse who beat Brave Inca in the 2007 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham four years ago), knows a good horse when he sees one and revealed that prior to the Gowran race he had backed Rubi Light at 200/1 for the Ryanair Chase.
Those odds are now much reduced, following an impressive 10-length victory over the reliable yardstick Roberto Goldback, that proved his previous effort in running a good second to Golden Silver was no fluke at all and anyone looking for Cheltenham 2011 tips should remember that.
Only a six-year-old, the ex-French gelding had proved a decent hurdler but is really coming into his own now switched to the larger obstacles. The winner of a chase at Sligo on his first attempt at chasing in Ireland, the Network gelding then followed up by five-lengths in a Punchestown handicap chase before running his only disappointing start so far over fences when down the field in a Limerick handicap chase at the end of December. His subsequent effort against Golden Silver and now his thrashing of some decent rivals at Gowran Park, suggests that on testing ground Rubi Light would not be without hope in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival 2011.
Having been available at up to 200/1 on Saturday morning, Rubi Light is now as short as 25/1 with some books, although 50/1 is also on offer with a number of firms for the two-mile five-furlong Grade 1 contest. Paul Nicholl’s Poquelin remains the clear 4/1 ante-post favourite for the race, and Saturday’s Grade 1 Ascot winner Riverside Theatre is now a solid 7/1 second favourite.