Horses To Follow » Peddlers Cross

Peddlers Cross

It was mildly surprising that Overturn did not set a faster pace than he did in the Champion Hurdle. A tearaway front-runner by trade, it was expected that the presence of the Donald McCain-trained gelding in the race would guarantee the fast pace that would suit his stable companion Peddlers Cross. Not so.

Given that it was a relatively slowly-run affair (the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle field reached the mid-point of the race in a time that was about three seconds faster than the Champion Hurdle field), the son of Oscar ran remarkably well to get to within a length and a quarter of Hurricane Fly. Willie Mullins’s horse is top class, he had the class to win a listed race on the flat in France, he has now won eight Grade 1 races over hurdles, despite missing Cheltenham through injury for the last two years, and he could be the best Champion Hurdler that we have seen in a long time.

Peddlers Cross was unbeaten going into Cheltenham, and he ran the race of his life to chase Hurricane Fly home, the pair of them finishing clear of a top class field. Winner of the Neptune Hurdle as a novice over two and a half miles, he probably just lacks Hurricane Fly’s gears over two miles, and it may be that two and a half miles is his optimum trip. He should not be opposed if he takes his chance in the Aintree Hurdle over two and a half miles – he is already a course and distance winner – and he is a really exciting prospect for next season, whether he remains over hurdles or embarks on a steeplechasing career.

15th March 2011

© The Sunday Times, 27th March 2011