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PEDDLERS SET TO CROSS SWORDS IN JEWSON

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Peddlers Cross: Jewson examination

Peddlers Cross: Jewson examination

Peddlers Cross: Jewson examination

View from connections ahead of the Jewson Novices' Chase on Thursday.

Cinders And Ashes landed the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, while stablemate Overturn was a storming second in the Champion Hurdle, leaving the Cholmondeley-based handler in bullish mood.

"If every day was like Tuesday, it would be brilliant," said McCain.

"If they keep running like that, it's all you can ask for."

Peddlers Cross, runner-up in last season's Champion Hurdle, made an excellent start to his career over fences with two routine victories at Bangor.

But he suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Sprinter Sacre at Kempton over Christmas, after which McCain found his pride and joy was not 100%.

The seven-year-old's preparation has since been stop-start, and connections decided Peddlers Cross would sidestep the Arkle and instead take his chance in this longer event.

With Sprinter Sacre so impressive in Tuesday's Arkle, many will see it as a wise move by the McCain team, but the trainer insists he was not scared off by that horse.

"Peddlers is coming to hand, and we're very happy with him. His work on Tuesday was great," said McCain.

"I saw him before I left for Cheltenham (on Wednesday) and he's flown up the gallop. We're obviously very hopeful.

"I certainly wouldn't be going to Cheltenham with him if I wasn't happy with him. He's in very good nick.

"I've said why I've done things and people can believe me or not. It's nothing to do with opposition.

"He seems to be coming to (hand) and in the last week, there has been a big difference.

Peddlers Cross' main market rival is the Willie Mullins-trained Sir Des Champs, winner of the the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Hurdle at last year's Festival and unbeaten in three starts over fences.

"He stays well enough and only does what he has to do," said Mullins.

"We know he likes the hill at Cheltenham as he flew up it last year in the conditional jockeys' race - that also confirmed he handles the track.

"We just hope he can produce the goods like he did last year."

Jockey David Russell admits this is another step up in grade for his mount.

"He gives me the same feel as what you're looking at because he's very lazy," said Russell.

"But every time I ask him to quicken up, he shows plenty of acceleration.

"We've only asked him to do the bare minimum and he's done that well, so we'll see he can take that further step."

Sporting Life