Rock On Ruby
©Healy Racing Photos
Harry Fry is adamant Rock On Ruby can reverse the form from Saturday's International Hurdle back at Cheltenham in March.
The Seaborough handler was delighted with his stable star's effort to take third place behind Zarkandar and Grandouet on his first run of the season in soft ground.
He is looking to give last season's Champion Hurdle hero one more run ahead of the defence of his title.
"He travelled down the hill like the best horse in the race - he had Zarkandar off the bridle at the top of the hill - and just turning in he got caught out with the lack of a recent run which you need to have at that sort of level on that ground," Fry said in his blog for StanJames.com.
"He's had two wind operations and those conditions are going to find out any weaknesses whether they've been fixed or not.
"What it turned into was a real stamina test so, on better ground, we've very confident about his chances come March.
"The 12-1 he went out to was massive and we snapped it up as quickly as we could.
"What Saturday showed you was a real staying performance from Zarkandar which may have proved he was less like a Champion Hurdle horse.
"Grandouet obviously travelled well and had his turn of foot blunted by the conditions.
"He's the one to fear come March because that was a great run off a 12-month lay-off and his turn of speed will come into play on better ground."
Fry feels Rock On Ruby will benefit from another outing before Cheltenham and is looking at either Wincanton's Kingwell Hurdle or the Contenders' Hurdle at Sandown in February.