The last of the 20/1 on offer in the ante-post market for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March appears to have been snapped up by punters anticipating a bold show from the Paul Nicholls-trained Rock On Ruby in the Grade 1 williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, writes Elliot Slater.
Now a best priced 16/1 chance to land the two-mile hurdling crown in less than three months time (and as short as 12/1 with some firms), the six-year-old certainly set tongues wagging after his tremendous seasonal reappearance effort when carrying top weight of 11st 10lbs to an easy six-length victory over stable companion Empire Levant (received 24lbs) in the listed Gerry Fielden Hurdle at Newbury last month. People looking at the best horse racing betting odds will be keeping a close eye on him.
The gelded son of Oscar has always been held in high regard by the champion trainer who is looking forward to pitting him against the likes of last year’s winner and former champion hurdler Binocular, and Overturn, winner of both the Coral Hurdle and the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle last month before finishing a fine second to Grandouet in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham a couple of weeks ago.
Last term Rock On Ruby was beaten just a short-head by First Lieutenant in the Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival over two-miles-five-furlongs before running the only disappointing race of his career when a distant third behind Spirit Son over a similar trip at Aintree a few weeks later. Judging by his Newbury romp Rock On Ruby looked more of a two miler, a theory that will be put very much to the test when he takes on some of the fastest horses over the distance at Kempton’s showcase fixture.