Rock On Ruby wins Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham


CHELTENHAM, England (AP) -- Rock On Ruby left odds-on favorite Hurricane Fly in his wake to win the Champions Hurdle on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday.

The 11-1 shot, ridden by Noel Fehily, took the lead after the second-last fence before holding on to win by nearly four lengths from Overturn, the long-time frontrunner.

Hurricane Fly, who went out as the 4-6 favorite in defense of the title, finished third having left his challenge too late by staying near the back of the field for much of the 2½-mile race.

The victory gave champion trainer Paul Nicholls his first win of the Festival. The event ends Friday when Kauto Star -- another horse from Nicholls' stable -- competes in the showpiece race, the Gold Cup.