Blinkers for Rock On Ruby
Harry Fry says Rock On Ruby will wear first-time blinkers when he defends his StanJames Champion Hurdle crown.
- Related Content
In his latest blog for StanJames.com, Fry said, "We had our final schooling session yesterday morning with Noel (Fehily) on board and he was awesome.
"That is due to the fact that he's going to run in first-time blinkers on Tuesday. It's something we've quietly, between Ciara (O'Connor) and myself and Noel and the owners, been discussing throughout the season and we feel now is the time to use them.
"He schooled with them yesterday and last Friday and Noel couldn't pull him up after the first time he went through. He's been razor-sharp.
"Also we galloped last week on grass with them on so we think they're there to help him and bring about a bit more improvement.
"We don't want to make the running but they're there to help him. We were in front from two out last season and he just slightly idled into the last and they came back to him.
"This is just to help make sure he keeps going all the way to the line.
"He's taken to them straight away and, like I said, his schooling's been awesome in them."
Recent rain at Cheltenham may not be in Rock On Ruby's favour but Fry doesn't think that would be enough to stop him retaining his title.
"They're calling it soft all round now at Cheltenham and hopefully that's the last of the rain," added the trainer.
"It's obviously going to get cold but as long as the ground doesn't get any worse than that we're not going to be seriously worried.
"Ideally, we'd like it better but he won a soft-ground bumper a couple of seasons ago round there. It's not 100 per cent in our favour but it's not totally against us either."
As for the opposition, Fry has three horses in mind and fears the favourite most.
"I think Hurricane Fly is the main danger," he said.
"He's fit and well and back to his very best. The only thing is the stats are against him.
"Zarkandar is not very far behind him having had a very good season so far and the ground is how they'd want it for him. You can't rule out Grandouet although obviously his preparations have been far from ideal."