Friday 28 July 2017

Star turn Peddlers Cross looks smart choice for Fighting Fifth

The jumps action at Cheltenham over the weekend reminded us of the great appeal of the sport and the expectation that prevails around this time of year about a potential superstar.

Cue Card's performance on Friday was not unexpected but saw his Supreme Hurdle odds for next March halved. Peddlers Cross could be the real deal too and he looks a fine bet at 5/1 to win Newcastle's Fighting Fifth Hurdle on Saturday week with Setantabet.

The Oscar-bred created a tremendous impression last season as a novice. A point winner in March of last year, he went on to win a bumper 12 months ago and all four starts over hurdles since. His manner of victory each time was commanding -- whatever company he faced.

That is the impression Peddlers Cross gives you: no matter the opposition, he is in control. In the staying novices' hurdle at the Festival, he made light work of Reve De Sivola and Rite Of Passage, form that reads extremely well now. He travelled like the class act that he is that day, before doing the same when easily adding to his tally at Aintree.

The main negative punters will consider about the horse at Newcastle is the trip of two miles. Given his programme of races last year, people might consider him a stayer. But this horse is all class and I expect him to be a legitimate Champion Hurdle contender this season. In both races he ran in over about two miles, he won by big margins and he has no shortage of pace.

The horse worked midweek at Bangor and reportedly left his trainer awestruck. Said trainer, Donald McCain, has made a magnificent start to the season and is destined for big things.

The race's odds-on favourite Binocular is roughly the same price as he was in the race last year, when he finished fifth of seven. He is no good thing in my book and I remain a bit unconvinced about how good he is, with some of his Champion Hurdle rivals flopping last March.

Starluck is beatable and there must be doubts about Hurricane Fly taking his chance, as Willie Mullins rarely sends horses over for this race and was unhappy about how the horse was working as recently as earlier this week.

With your money back if he is placed, 5/1 on Peddlers Cross makes plenty of appeal and the price with this fledgling firm will hardly last beyond noon.

RECOMMENDATION

Peddlers Cross to win Fighting Fifth, 1pt each way at 5/1 (Setantabet)

MARK Selby has an excellent record against Ronnie O'Sullivan and may be worth backing at 6/4 ahead of their meeting on Thursday.

They face each other in the Premier League semi-final, a first-to-five game that will likely be quite close. Selby's Masters win over the Rocket last January was as good an advertisement for the great sport as snooker promoters would wish for and he can beat him again.

RECOMMENDATION

Mark Selby to beat Ronnie O'Sullivan, 1pt at 6/4 (Boylesports)

THE estimated attendance for today's FAI Ford Cup final is most encouraging and there are bright prospects of the game living up to expectations.

For the second half of the campaign, Sligo Rovers were a better team than Shamrock Rovers and there should be little to separate them in the betting. Instead, the Hoops are 6/4 to lay on Betfair and that is worth doing. It is the price at which Paddy Power, the shrewdest firm when it comes to Irish football, are laying Mick O'Neill's men.

The loss of player of the year Richie Ryan is a particularly hard blow, but Sligo have enough artillery in midfield to compensate.

RECOMMENDATION

Lay Shamrock Rovers to beat Sligo Rovers, 1pt at 2.5 (1.5pt liability, Betfair)

YEAR TO DATE

Profit to a €10 stake: €318.97

Still running: €150

valuebet@independent.ie

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