Ruby off to winning start

Rock On Ruby survived a minor scare to make a winning debut over fences in the Winter Gala Novices' Chase at Plumpton.

Harry Fry's 2012 Champion Hurdle winner and 2013 runner-up only faced two rivals, with one of those departing at the third fence.

Coming to four out, Noel Fehily's mount did not really attack the fence and sent the birch flying, but after that his jumping was safe and he had far too much class on the short run-in for his remaining rival, Lindsay's Dream.

In the end he won going away, coming home comfortably clear at odds of 1-10.

"My immediate reaction is relief," said Fry. "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.

"There is a similar race here on January 5, so we could come back for that before the Lightning at Doncaster.

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

Fehily said: "I'm pretty happy, the ground was way too soft for him, but he popped around and did what he had to do.

"He was quite clever at a few, all I had to do was get him around and he's done that.

"When he made the mistake he was too busy watching the loose horse, but he was quite clever as he never looked in trouble.

"He jumped well, he only had to pop around on the bridle but his next test will be a lot harder."

The general consensus of the bookmakers was to leave Rock On Ruby unchanged around the 16-1 mark for the Arkle in March.