Mark Walford’s promising hurdler Ruby Island can bounce back from narrow defeat at Ayr by claiming her third win in the Grade Two EBF Mares’ Final at Newbury
- Ruby Island has made encouraging progress over hurdles since her debut win
- She narrowly failed to defend her unbeaten record back at Ayr a fortnight ago
- Aubis Walk can make a bold bid to continue trainer Nicky Richards’s hot streak
While the Dubai World Cup will dominate Saturday’s horse racing headlines, National Hunt fans will be focused on Kelso and Newbury, where RUBY ISLAND (2.40) may prove a gem of a bet.
Trainer Mark Walford has excelled with the daughter of Trans Island after guiding her through a bumper career which included a creditable fourth place in a Listed event at Cheltenham.
Ruby Island has also made encouraging progress over hurdles since her debut win at Ayr before Christmas, following up at Wetherby with a five-length defeat of some talented rivals, before narrowly failing to defend her unbeaten record back at Ayr a fortnight ago.
She looked unlucky not to complete the hat-trick that day, as her conqueror, Windtothelightning, enjoyed a better track position and just held on despite a spirited challenge late on from the selection.
The step up to two and a half miles was clearly no issue for Ruby Island and the combination of the lengthy Newbury straight and first-time cheekpieces may produce more improvement from a horse rated just 119 and once talked about as a potential mares’ novice hurdle contender at the Cheltenham Festival.
The Grade 2 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle features some of the best young mares this year
Ruby Island is not the only northern raider with a live chance, as Aubis Walk should make a bold bid to continue trainer Nicky Richards’s hot streak.
Victory would provide a welcome fillip for Sean Quinlan, who was involved in a bizarre incident on Thursday when his mount jinked after the final fence at Sedgefield and parted company with the Irishman with the race all but won.
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