Horses To Follow » Peddlers Cross

Peddlers Cross

Peddlers Cross kept his unbeaten record intact when putting in a gutsy performance to win the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ hurdle on Wednesday. Prominent from the off, as he tracked the leaders toward the inside rail, he raced a bit keenly in the early stages and it was not until they went past the stands that Jason Maguire managed to get him settled. Sleepy Hollow set a fair pace, and Peddlers Cross had a nice position in behind the leaders. He came under pressure over the second last as Rite Of Passage and Reve De Sivola went on. Indeed, proven stayer Reve De Sivola looked home for all money as he held a commanding advantage on the run to the last, so it is to Peddlers Cross immense credit that he was able to catch and pass him, effectively out-staying him up the hill.

This was another highly competitive championship race. The form looks solid, with some of the right horses finishing in the major places and the time of the race was over two seconds faster than the Coral Cup run over the same distance later on the card. Jason Maguire said that Peddlers Cross was the best horse he had ever ridden after he won at Haydock in January and he went a long way to proving him right with this performance. Coming into this race there were worries about the distance and the conditions, as the ground dried out. Peddlers Cross had only ever won on easy surfaces and over shorter trips. Trainer Donald McCain says that he has bags of speed, he probably ran in the Neptune instead of the Supreme because of the Dunguib hype, but such was the stamina that he displayed over the longer distance that it was probably the race for him anyway. He has now proved he also has an abundance of stamina, and he is a horse of immense potential now, still just a five-year-old. Next year connections have no shortage of options and routes they can take. Quotes came in for the World hurdle immediately after the race, but the Champion hurdle has to be considered given that he has speed and that two miles may even be his best trip. Also, perhaps a little paradoxically, the Neptune is a much better trial for the Champion Hurdle (ref Istabraq Hardy Eustace) than the Supreme Novices’. There is also the possibility that he could go chasing, in which case the Arkle would be the obvious target, were speed and stamina are equally important. In the immediate term, he is likely to run at Aintree in the two and a half mile John Smiths Mersey novices’ hurdle, and he will be a big player in that.

17th March 2010