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Cross swerves Sacre skirmish

Sprinter Sacre has wowed us all over fences this season, breaking the track record more times than most horses even manage to win.

Barry Geraghty, the man who has won championship races at the Cheltenham Festival on the likes of Moscow Flyer and Kicking King, has suggested that Sprinter Sacre could be the best he has ever ridden and with a week to go to the Festival, he has seemingly had a big effect on the plans of another big name.

Peddlers Cross was hotly fancied for the Arkle before he ever jumped a fence on the basis of his exploits over hurdles and running Hurricane Fly as close as he could be run in the Champion Hurdle last year.

However, after an unexpectedly up and down campaign with mixed vibes in recent weeks, Donald McCain yesterday evening confirmed: “We’ve made the decision to run Peddlers Cross in the Jewson next week at Cheltenham.”

McCain has opted for the Grade Two contest over an extra half-mile rather than take on the increasingly more unbeatable Sprinter Sacre.

The decision was made after schooling yesterday, and McCain added: “It has been a long road back from the setback he had at Kempton in December, and we feel at this stage the two-mile four-furlong event will be more beneficial to him in the long term, as we did when running him in the Neptune rather than the Supreme when he was novice hurdler.”

Meanwhile, although Willie Mullins is keeping coy about where a lot of his runners are going, suggestions from the market moves at Boylesports and Ladbrokes yesterday would say Sir Des Champs is heading to the RSA Chase.

Punters seemed to plunge in on the unbeaten chaser who won at last year’s Festival over hurdles, and, although he has multiple entries next week, the insurance of having ‘non runner/no bet’ has seemed to entice a lot of activity.

Kauto Star is “heading in the right direction” ahead of the Cheltenham Gold Cup after last week’s setback, according to his trainer, Paul Nicholls. The two-time winner remains a doubt for next week’s renewal but once again the reports, as of this morning, seemed to be positive as Nicholls stepped up his work.