Much has been made recently of Donald McCain’s decision to switch PEDDLERS CROSS
(7/2, William Hill
) from the Arkle Trophy to the Jewson Chase, but it is a move that could pay dividends for those who retain the faith with the ultra-talented novice chaser.
After a fantastic spell over hurdles Peddlers Cross embarked on a career over fences this season and the superstar gave his trainer nothing to worry about with two effortless victories at Bangor last November. Sent off at odds of 1/8 and 2/13 in both races, he rocketed to the head of the Arkle betting and few would have argued that the 2011 Champion Hurdle second looked a fascinating recruit to the larger obstacles.
However, supporters of the horse came back down to earth with a bump when Peddlers Cross was annihilated by the sensational Sprinter Sacre in the Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton in December.
Never really travelling after a mistake at the first, Peddlers Cross couldn’t live with Nicky Henderson’s incredible jumper and it was clear that the demands of the contest were not suited to McCain’s horse. Immediately after the race the trainer was keen to highlight that it would make sense to step Peddlers Cross up in trip and that is exactly what he has done at this year’s Festival.
The fact that a decision has been made to swerve a second clash with Sprinter Sacre is a wise one and the two-mile four test of the Jewson should allow the selection to find his rhythm and resume his progress this season.
Effortless over fences in his first two races this season, Peddlers Cross looks every inch the natural steeplechaser that so many have believed and with no Sprinter Sacre in the field, he should prove too good for the likes of Cristal Bonus (9/2, bet365
) and Sir Des Champs (11/2, William Hill