Jewson Novices’ Chase a possibility for Peddlers Cross

Donald McCain could look to the Jewson Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival for Peddlers Cross should his stable star not take his chance in his preferred target, the Racing Post Arkle.

Runner-up in the Champion Hurdle last season, the seven-year-old made the perfect start to his chasing career winning his first two starts at Bangor.

McCain then took him down south for a clash with Sprinter Sacre at Kempton, but after belting the first he was never on an even keel and was well beaten.

In the aftermath McCain found a few issues that needed dealing with, but is now happy again with his charge.

As well as the Arkle, the seven-year-old also holds entries in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Champion Hurdle and Jewson over two and a half miles, and it is the latter McCain said he would look at if he did not go the Arkle route.

“The Arkle is Plan A but it’s been a longish road back. He had his issues after Kempton and I think it’s only fair to the horse to keep our options open and we’ll see how he is over the next 10 days before we decide,” said McCain, who virtually ruled out a Champion Chase bid.

“That has always been the plan but if there are any question marks over him we can always think again.

“We seem to be where we want to be. I’ve not schooled him a huge amount, which I need to do a bit more of to be honest, but that’s because we wanted to get him back and rolling first.

“He’s a very special horse so we’ve got to do what’s right by him.

“Timing-wise it all depended on how long it took to settle down but it took long enough that it prevented us from getting another run in.

“Also, if we ran him again (after Kempton) we could have put him back to square one again which was the main decision really,” he told Racing UK.