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Rock On Ruby to fly with Fry

CHAMPION HURDLE winner Rock On Ruby will be trained out of the same yard as he was when winning the Cheltenham highlight last March, but for the coming season, the name of the trainer next to him will be different.

Rock On Ruby was last season guided to Champion Hurdle success by champion trainer Paul Nicholls, under the supervision of Harry Fry, who was in charge of Nicholls' satellite yard at Seaborough.

However, from October, Fry will have a trainers' licence of his own and is looking forward to having a team of 20 horses, headed by Rock On Ruby.

Last season, the Seaborough yard, which is owned by Richard Barber, sent out 18 winners for Paul Nicholls from 90 runners, and Fry said that Nicholls had backed the decision of his former pupil assistant.

At just 25 years of age, Fry will be ending a 12-year association with Nicholls to become one of the youngest trainers in the ranks.

"I want to thank my landlord Richard Barber very much for the opportunity to take out a licence at Seaborough and set up Harry Fry Racing," said Fry.

"Having been part of the team at Seaborough for many years it is a real honour to start my training career here.

"I hope to have about 20 in training next season, including Rock On Ruby, and can't wait to get started."

Regarding Nicholls, Fry added: "Paul Nicholls has been very supportive of my decision and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for all his help and advice over the years."

As a result of the somewhat surprising announcement, William Hill have eased Nicholls out to 15/8 from 6/4 to be Champion Trainer this season, while cutting Nicky Henderson from 4/7 to 4/9.

Hill's also offer 5/6 that Fry will saddle more than 16 winners in his opening season, and it is 50/1 that he will become Champion Trainer in the next five seasons.

Meanwhile, the entries for the opening day of the Galway Festival closed today and the ground ahead of the mammoth week has been described as soft, soft to heavy in places, with further rain forecasted.