Ryanair hope Rubi Light shines in Curragh spin

Rubi Light pleased connections in a racecourse spin at the Curragh yesterday as he continued his preparation for the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham.

Trainer Robbie Hennessy is likely to give the seven-year-old another workout at either Leopardstown or Dundalk before his run at the Festival on March 15.

“He couldn’t be better. He was at the Curragh this morning and did a bit of work up the Old Vic gallop and we couldn’t be happier with him,” said Hennessy.

“He might go to Leopardstown on Monday morning. I prefer going then to Sunday after racing at Leopardstown as there’s not much of a crowd there or the cameras.

“It all depends on the ground. The ground is good there at the moment and we’re in for a few dry days, so if it comes up too good there he might go up to Dundalk for a spin round there instead.

“He’s as fit now as he’s going to be so it’s just a case of keeping him ticking over.”

Rubi Light was third in the Ryanair last year and is a leading fancy to go two better, having won the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase and the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park this term.

Jessica Harrington meanwhile reports her two big hopes on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, Steps To Freedom and Oscars Well, in fine fettle.

The County Kildare trainer took the pair to the Curragh for a racecourse workout on Tuesday.

Steps To Freedom, a leading fancy for the William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle that opens the meeting, jumped about 12 hurdles in a schooling session.

“Steps To Freedom schooled around 12 hurdles at the Curragh this morning,” Harrington tweeted.

“He was very good and all is on track for Cheltenham.”

Oscars Well, her runner in the Stan James Champion Hurdle, also enjoyed a racecourse gallop.

Harrington added: “Oscars Well galloped today and was very good.

“All on course for Cheltenham.”

Mouse Morris expects the three miles on good ground of the RSA Chase to bring out the best in First Lieutenant.

A winner at the Festival last year when he collared Rock On Ruby in the final strides of the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle, his chasing career has not been plain sailing.

Having won a Grade Three on his chasing debut, he was then beaten at Cork by De Valira before returning there to win another Grade Three.

He gave himself a nose bleed with a bad mistake in the Drinmore, in which he was eventually pulled up, and then had to give best to Last Instalment in the Fort Leney Novice Chase.

However, Morris feels the return to a likely sound surface is the most important factor at Cheltenham.

“Everything is good with him and if he’s sound he’ll be running in the RSA,” he said.

“I think he’s always been a horse who has looked like he wants three miles on good ground over fences.

“Last year he was only just getting going after the last.

“If you look in the formbook it usually says about him ’doing best work at finish’ and I hope it’s the same again.

“I just wish they’d ease off with that watering a bit.” First Lieutenant can be backed at 7-1 in the RSA Chase.

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