Friday 24 November 2017

Peddlers can bounce back from Kempton reverse in Arkle, insists McCain

Donald McCain remains confident Peddlers Cross will be back to his brilliant best when he lines up in the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham next month.

The Grand National-winning trainer has always had unwavering faith in the seven-year-old and he proved beyond all doubt he is a horse out of the top drawer when running Hurricane Fly close in last season's Champion Hurdle.

As one of the most exciting recruits to the chasing game in many a year, Peddlers Cross did everything right on his first couple of starts over fences at Bangor, but he was firmly put in his place by Sprinter Sacre at Kempton over Christmas.

That result saw Sprinter Sacre usurp Peddlers Cross at the top of the Arkle betting, but McCain is adamant his pride and joy is far better than he showed that day.

"Peddlers is grand. He's working away and we've decided we're going to go straight to Cheltenham because the races that were available didn't really fit in with what we wanted to do," said McCain.

"We'll get him A1 for the big day and it's all systems go. Plan A is the Arkle.

"He came back from Kempton pretty much wrong everywhere, he was very sore. It fully justified his run, we tidied everything up and he seems in great nick.

"I don't think there's ever been a day when Peddlers Cross hasn't worked like a machine, so I don't see any reason to panic. He's very special."

Also carrying the colours of owner Tim Leslie is the ever-consistent Overturn, winner of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle earlier this season.

He has since been placed at Cheltenham and Kempton in top-class company and McCain feels he has enough about him to be in the mix in the Champion Hurdle.

"I would expect him to be in the first four," the trainer stated. "He wasn't quite as sharp as he could have been in the International (at Cheltenham) and he definitely wasn't at Kempton. That puts him right in the mix.

"You wouldn't go expecting to beat Hurricane Fly, but a bouncing Overturn would be able to compete with most of them."

Irish Independent

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