Champion Court the one to oppose Peddlers Cross with at Cheltenham
There are severe doubts as to whether the best Peddlers Cross will be seen at Cheltenham and therefore it may pay to take him on with Champion Court at 8/1 to win the Jewson Novices’ Chase.
The defection of Peddlers Cross to the Jewson from the Arkle has raised some eyebrows, especially the reason given by trainer Donald McCain for the decision.
Last season’s Champion Hurdle runner-up has not enjoyed an ideal preparation, missing some necessary schooling and general work, which could mean that he is heading to the Festival in less than tip-top condition.
It is believed that the slower nature of the Jewson over a longer distance than the Arkle will assist the horse’s jumping, but it is still a big risk backing Peddlers Cross.
The nature of Cheltenham as a Festival is surely still liable to mean that they will set off quickly in the Jewson which will not give Peddlers Cross the opportunity to settle into a jumping rhythm.
Furthermore, it could be dangerous to back any horse arriving short of optimum fitness, while McCain indicated at a Cheltenham preview night that Cloudy Lane was his best chance of Festival victory.
Cloudy Lane is 8/1 to win the Foxhunters Chase.
In trying to oppose Peddlers Cross, Champion Court could prove the most worthy alternative at 8/1, especially as this price could shorten by race day if the likes of Sir Des Champs and Invictus take up other Cheltenham engagements.
Champion Court has course form as all of his last three runs have been at Cheltenham, which includes a victory in the Dipper Chase on his latest run and a ten-length second to Grands Crus earlier in the season which is decent form.
Meanwhile, the horse is certain to be well prepared for the Festival, given that he represents the best hope of a victory for trainer Martin Keighley.