Rock On Ruby: will instead head to Cheltenham on December 15PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Ruby and Darlan ruled out of Fighting Fifth
CHAMPION Hurdle hero Rock On Ruby will miss his intended comeback in Saturday's Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle due to testing conditions.
First season trainer Harry Fry has instead decided to wait for the International Hurdle at Cheltenham on December 15.
The trainer said on Thursday morning: "The plan was always to take the horse to Newcastle provided the going wasn't too soft. Unfortunately after the dreadful weather around the country the ground is bound to be very testing on Saturday.
"To run him first time on this type of going is not ideal. We are looking at the bigger picture because the aim for Rock On Ruby all season is to try to win the Champion Hurdle again in March and we think he has a decent chance of doing that.
"So we will give the Fighting Fifth a miss and wait instead for Cheltenham a fortnight later."
Testing conditions have also caused Nicky Henderson to rule Darlan out of the 2m contest, meaning a field of four -Bothy, Cinders And Ashes, Countrywide Flame and Trifolium - go to post.
The ground at Newcastle was described as heavy with soft places in the last three furlongs on Thursday morning. Landings, takeoffs and vulnerable areas in back straight are due to be protected by frost covers.