sport

Ruby may go straight to Arkle

Rock On Ruby could head straight for the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham without the aid of another run.

The 2012 Champion Hurdle hero made a smart start to his career over fences when scoring at Plumpton in mid-December, but trainer Harry Fry has been forced to sidestep subsequent targets with his stable star due to the prevailing soft ground.

"The weather's not making our job easy, that's for sure," the Dorset trainer said in his blog on www.stanjames.com.

"Noel (Fehily) has been in and schooled him this morning and he's delighted with him. Every year he just seems to get better and better from January onwards.

"He's thriving, but the trouble is we can't get away with his wind on the soft ground any more so we don't want to use up our lives on the bottomless ground and knock him backwards

"We'd rather save him, do lots of schooling at home and get some outings on decent ground if we can find it. And if we don't run, so be it, but we're not going to run him for the sake of it in testing conditions.

"There probably is a chance now we could go straight to the Festival with the way the weather is. We seem to get a couple of dry days and then the heavens open again so nowhere really gets a chance to dry out.

"The Arkle's still the plan but then we obviously need Cheltenham to come up with good ground to be in with a chance.

"If it's not good or half-decent ground then we can forget our chance. At that level we need to have decent ground with his wind."