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Darlan and Rock On Ruby out of StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle

Updated: Thursday, 29 Nov 2012 09:51 | Comments

Rock On Ruby, last season's Champion Hurdle winner, will also miss his intended seasonal reappearance at Newcastle
Rock On Ruby, last season's Champion Hurdle winner, will also miss his intended seasonal reappearance at Newcastle

Darlan will not run in the StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on Saturday, trainer Nicky Henderson confirmed.

The high-class five-year-old will not be declared this morning due to the prospect of testing conditions.

"Darlan will not be going to Newcastle," the Seven Barrows handler told Press Association Sport.

"We ummed and aahed about it for a long time, but the decision was taken because of the ground."

Rock On Ruby, last season's Champion Hurdle winner, will also miss his intended seasonal reappearance at Newcastle.

Trainer Harry Fry's decision has similarly been influenced by the ground.

The seven-year-old will instead run in the Stan James International Hurdle at Cheltenham on 15 December.

"We ummed and aahed about it for a long time, but the decision was taken because of the ground." - Nicky Henderson

Fry said in a statement issued to Press Association Sport: "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."

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