Rock On Ruby is set to return to the track at Newcastle on December 1st after trainer Harry Fry confirmed him for the Fighting Fifth Hurdle. Last seasons' Champion Hurdle hero has been off track since finishing third at Aintree in April and connections are expecting a big run at Newcastle. Rock On Ruby caused something of a surprise when he won the Champion Hurdle last season but following that triumph he is now the horse to beat ahead of this years renewal. The horse has officially left the yard of Paul Nicholls over the summer with Harry Fry now out on his own and he is only too aware that a good season for Rock On Ruby will be a major boost for his training credentials. The Fighting Fifth Hurdle will be the starting point for the horse before he goes to Kempton for the Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day before returning to Cheltenham in the spring. The Champion Hurdle does look a hot division this year though and connections will be only too aware that Rock On Ruby will need to have improved over the summer ahead of his new campaign.
The Fighting Fifth Hurdle is already looking like a key Champion Hurdle trial race with a number of exciting horses set to take on Rock On Ruby. Chief among those is likely to be Cinders And Ashes who won the Supreme Novices Hurdle last season and is being aimed towards the Champion Hurdle in the spring. Donald McCain is convinced that Cinders And Ashes will make the step up in class with little trouble and he too is expected to make his seasonal debut at Newcastle. The same can be said of the highly talented Grandouet who has been given an entry for Newcastle by trainer Nicky Henderson. He picked up an injury ahead of Cheltenham last season but was full of class before hand and at this stage could still be anything making Grandouet a fascinating Fighting Fifth prospect. All eyes though will be on Rock On Ruby as he bids to prove that his Champion Hurdle success was no fluke and that he is a major contender once again this winter.