sport

Activial and Ruby lead Fry team

Harry Fry will head to Aintree with a small but select team as he looks to Activial and Rock On Ruby for further Grade One success.

The pair are are set to run on the opening day of the Crabbie's Grand National meeting, with Activial heading for the Injured Jockeys Fund 50th Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle and Rock On Ruby reverting to the smaller obstacles in the Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle.

The decision was made to switch Rock On Ruby back to hurdling following a mistake he made jumping the third fence in this year's Arkle Trophy that effectively ended any chance he had in the Cheltenham showpiece.

However, the 2012 Champion Hurdle winner will have to be at his best to beat The New One, who finished well in front of him over two miles at Kempton in October.

Fry said: "Things did not go to plan for him against the best novices around in the Arkle at Cheltenham after an early mistake.

"It was a run which suggested that he does not quite have the scope for chasing at the highest level.

"So after much debate with his team of owners we feel it is unlikely that he will be running over fences again.

"Rock On Ruby has achieved so much over hurdles that it is only right we should look after him. So he will go back to what he does best.

"The task he faces at Aintree is a stiff one but he came out of Cheltenham in good shape and continues to work well at home."

Activial was last seen winning impressively when landing the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle at Kempton in February, and the Aintree curtain-raiser has been the target ever since.

The four-year-old grey already has many admirers and Fry is convinced missing Cheltenham was the right thing to do.

He said: "I have no regrets about side-stepping the Triumph Hurdle with Activial and keeping him fresh for Aintree.

"While I felt he lacked the necessary experience for Cheltenham I am very much looking forward to seeing him run this week.

"Noel Fehily was here to school him and he's worked nicely since.

"I think he surprised us both by the way he quickened up so smartly at Kempton to win with plenty in hand on a track that tends to favour the speedier horses.

"The long-galloping straight at Aintree should play to his strengths."