• Racing/
  • Rock Steady at Plumpton

Winter Gala Novices' Chase 2m 1f

  • (4yo+, 2m 1f, Class 3, 3 runners)
  • Winner £6,498 2nd £1,908 3rd £954 4th £477
  • Going: Soft
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 4m 35.70s
  • Off time: 12:41:41
  • Last Updated: December 16 2013, 13:23 GMT

Rock On Ruby never left second gear on his way to making a straightforward but unspectacular steeplechasing debut at Plumpton.

Rock On Ruby: Winner on his steeplechasing debut
Rock On Ruby: Winner on his steeplechasing debut

The 2012 Champion Hurdle hero looked to have an easy task on paper againt two rivals rated by some way his inferior, and matters become even less arduous for the 1/10 favourite when previous winner Lamb's Cross blundered and unseated his rider at an early stage of the Winter Gala Novices' Chase.

Rock On Ruby wasn't fluent at all of his fences and left his mark in the fourth last when getting too low, but when it mattered he quickened away from Lindsay's Dream - a rival rated no less than 69lb his inferior over hurdles - to score by an effortless four lengths.

"He did what he had to do," winning rider Noel Fehily told At The Races.

"The ground is much to soft for him, but I thought he was clever at a couple of them when he had to be, which is a good sign.

"The main thing in a race like that is just to get round and he's done that.

"When he made the mistake he was too busy watching the loose horse. He jumped well, but he only had to pop around on the bridle."

Trainer Harry Fry is aiming Rock On Ruby at the Lightning Chase on SkyBet Chase day at Doncaster on January 25, but said: "Ideally I'd like to get one more little event into him first before then.

"My immediate reaction is relief. We've got away with it on the ground today. We know he's better on better ground.

"I'll have to see what Noel says, but he was getting a nice lead off the horse with experience but then he departed early.

"They've gone round together, jumped sensibly and it was a bit like a schooling session, really.

"We've made a mistake, but apart from that he's jumped well, he was quick from A to B, so you've got to be pleased.

"He's tough and he'll always try and that's one characteristic he'll never lose.

"Hopefully we'll get him through to March and then we have options like the Jewson as well as the Arkle."

He remains a 14/1 chance with Sky Bet for the Arkle Chase at March's Cheltenham Festival.

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