Peddlers Cross aims to continue early stable Festival success

An excellent opening day of the Cheltenham Festival has fuelled Donald McCain’s confidence ahead of Peddlers Cross’ bid for glory in 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.