There are still positives to be taken from the fact that illness is set to ensure that Peddlers Cross is unlikely to run again ahead of the Champion Hurdle.
Donald McCain’s unbeaten hurdler is 11/2 in the Champion Hurdle betting and has previous form at the Cheltenham Festival thanks to his victory in the Neptune Investment Hurdle last year.
He has also enhanced his chances this season with a victory over 11/4 Champion Hurdle favourite Binocular at Newbury in November.
Connections have been reportedly keen to give the horse one more run to maintain his fitness ahead of Cheltenham, but this now seems highly unlikely.
Peddlers Cross already missed out on one run after the cold weather caused a Haydock meeting to be abandoned recently and now a cough developed on the gallops has left him stuck in his stable again.
The six-year-old was expected to tackle either the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las or Sandown’s Contenders Hurdle.
McCain said: “The end result of this is that he is highly unlikely to run this weekend and we will have to let him tell us what the next move is.
“This is a shame, and we will just have to play it be ear.”
However, this problem could be seen as a benefit for a few reasons.
Firstly, the horse will avoid picking up any injuries if he does not run and his fellow Champion Hurdle contenders will not be given any clues into the shape that Peddlers Cross is currently in.
Furthermore, the horse will head to Cheltenham extremely fresh, having spent the best part of four months without appearing on a racecourse.