Dream team to combine after jockey is spared Cheltenham punishment

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Common sense prevailed last night when Jason Maguire won his appeal to reduce a seven-day ban for excessive use of the whip, leaving him free to ride Peddlers Cross at the Cheltenham Festival.

Maguire wasn’t confident of winning his appeal so it’s a huge relief to ante post backers of Peddlers Cross everywhere that Maguire will be free to reunite his partnership with the unbeaten six-year-old.

Having beaten Champion Hurdle 7/2 favourite Binocular earlier in the season, many believe Peddlers Cross is the horse to upset the Champion Hurdle odds and he can be backed at 5/1 to win the Champion Hurdle.

Maguire has been on board Peddlers Cross for all seven of his wins over hurdles and the dream team is held in high regard in the Donald McCain stable where Peddlers Cross is based.

But in what will be the fiercest renewal of the Champion Hurdle for some time Peddlers Cross finds himself fourth in the betting market with both Menorah, 4/1, and Hurricane Fly, 9/2, ahead of him in the betting market.

However the significance of Peddlers Cross’ victory over Binocular earlier in the season should not be underestimated as the last three winners of the fighting fifth have all gone on to win the Champion Hurdle.

That stat may prove obsolete after the Fighting Fifth was switched from Newcastle to Newbury due to severe weather conditions, but the yard certainly holds high hopes for Peddlers Cross and McCain talks with great enthusiasm and excitement whenever his horse is mentioned.

A strong pace will suit Peddlers Cross and with front runner Overturn in the field that is likely, but the cream of the two mile hurdlers are no slouches and as the Cheltenham Festival draws nearer, the Champion Hurdle continues to provoke much debate.

A £25 stake on a Peddlers Cross winning the Champion Hurdle would return £150. New customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.