HARRY Fry has revealed Rock On Ruby will wear blinkers for the first time in public when he defends his crown in the Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on Tuesday.
While the decision will come as a surprise to many, Fry has revealed it something connections have been considering for some time due to the way he has tended to idle in front at the end of his races.
Speaking in his blog on www.stanjames.com, Fry said: "We had our final schooling session yesterday morning with Noel (Fehily) on board and he was awesome. That is due to the fact that he's going to run in first-time blinkers on Tuesday.
"It's something we've quietly, between Ciara (O'Connor, Fry's partner and assistant trainer) and myself and Noel and the owners, been discussing throughout the season and we feel now is the time to use them.
"He schooled with them on yesterday and last Friday and Noel couldn't pull him up after the first time he went through. He's been razor-sharp.
"Also we galloped last week on grass with them on so we think they're there to help him and bring about a bit more improvement.
"We don't want to make the running but they're there to help him. We were in front from two out last season and he just slightly idled into the last and they came back to him. This is just to help make sure he keeps going all the way to the line.
"At Doncaster, Noel felt that once he'd beaten Countrywide Flame coming to the last and after the last, all he did was idle in front. So once Ciara and I and Noel sat down after that and discussed our plans and preparations for Tuesday, we said, "Right, now is the time to do it."
"We got a good gallop into him with them on and there was never a minute's doubt about using them. He's taken to them straight away and, like I said, his schooling's been awesome in them."