Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 17 May 2022

The winners' enclosure: Rock on Ruby saves the day for bookies

Paul Nicholls’ runner denied the much fancied favourite Hurricane Fly to put a spring in the step of the turf accountants trackside.

Image: inpho/Dan Sheridan

WELL, YOU WIN some, you lose some.

And the punters at Cheltenham lost some today.

Bookmakers will tonight enjoy something from the top shelf no doubt in celebration of Rock On Ruby’s stunning win in the Stan James Champion Hurdle.

Paul Nicholls’ runner denied the much fancied favourite Hurricane Fly to put a spring in the step of the turf accountants trackside.

Sprinter Sacre and Quevega, the day’s other crowd favourites, delivered however, meaning Rock On Ruby’s surprise win was all the more welcome with the bookies. Sprinter Sacre had earlier annihilated the field in the Racing Post Arkle Trophy with one brave soul subsequently picking up £100,000 in winnings for his £110,000 outlay at odds of 10-11.

“We half expected to see Steve McQueen leading Rock On Ruby into the winner’s enclosure. It really was the Great Escape after Sprinter Sacre’s costly win,” one Ladbrokes chief said afterwards in a flat-pack quote that seemed pre-assembled to me. Quevega was the first Irish winner of the day, incidentally – and that in the sixth race.

Balthazar King won the Glenfarclas Handicap Chase over the cross-country course as Philip Hobbs’ horse came home at 11-2 before Quevega then romped to his fourth win in the Mares’ Hurdle.

Our own Paddy Power meanwhile refunded around £2m in losing bets placed on the Arkle Trophy. The Irish firm vowed to pay out if favourite Sprinter Sacre won. That’s got to hurt.

Earlier, the opening Supreme Novice Hurdle was won in tremendous style by the Donald McCain Cinders And Ashes while Alfie Sherin was a game winner of the JLT Specialty Handicap Steeplechase for owner JP McManus and trainer Jonjo O’Neill.

Catch up with how it all unfolded here

Tuesday’s big winner

It has be Paul Nicholls and his runner Rock On Ruby, right?

Jockey Noel Fehily celebrates his victory on Rock on Ruby in the Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge. Pic: David Davies/PA Wire.

Check out all the best images from the day’s action here>

Tweet of the day?

Black day

Three horses lost their lives over the course of the day’s racing in the Cotswolds. Two were put down after the Cross Country Chase; Scotsirish and Garde Champetre who fell badly and were put down.

Looking forward

All eyes will be on the Henry De Bromhead trained Sizing Europe tomorrow as he bids to retain his Queen Mother Champion Chaser title. Join us from lunchtime for the liveblog.

Check out all TheScore’s Cheltenham coverage here>

About the author:

Read next: