Peddlers' Festival chances divide jockey and bookies

World Hurdle odds drift after unconvincing win in warm-up but Maguire remains confident

Pushed right out by his jockey and bookmakers alike, Peddlers Cross at least got his career back on track with a win at Musselburgh. Having been driven out pretty firmly to see off a rival officially rated 35lb his inferior in a race more or less devised for his benefit, he was eased to 14-1 from 10-1 by Coral for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham next month. But while his trainer confessed to similar reservations at first, the debriefing of his jockey appeared to bring Donald McCain round to a far more positive view of his performance.

Peddlers Cross was returning to hurdles after an experiment over fences last season ended in disappointment, tailed off as favourite for the Jewson Novices' Chase at the Festival. Having resurfaced in a jumpers' bumper at Kempton last month, he started 1-5 to see off just three rivals – one of them his own pacemaker – for the Howies Restaurants Edinburgh Hurdle. Jumping slickly, he pulled his way into the lead with three to jump and looked certain to cruise clear. But he seemed to lose focus somewhat, before responding to Jason Maguire's reminders on the run-in to win by just under two lengths from Cue To Cue.

Maguire soon persuaded McCain that Peddlers Cross had merely been idling. "He has always been lazy in front and Jason just had to give him a couple of belts to go away," the trainer said. "We won't see the best of these horses until they go a championship pace. If you could see what we see every day, you'd know Peddlers Cross hasn't changed. His jumping was exceptional. Jason wondered why we ever tried fences, he was so good again today."

Those pleas in mitigation seem well worth heeding. Prior to last year's flop, Peddlers Cross had been beaten by only one of 26 rivals in his first two visits to Cheltenham – Hurricane Fly in the 2011 Champion Hurdle – and the way he had rallied up the hill after being headed over two miles and five furlongs as a novice suggests he will be well suited by a first crack at three this time round.

Peddlers Cross remained among 33 candidates for the vacancy created by injury to Big Buck's when the latest acceptors had been published earlier in the day. But another division is so dominated by one horse that even now a single-figure field is guaranteed for the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Already relieved of his most feasible rival, with Flemenstar sidelined by a lung infection, Sprinter Sacre could yet deter some of only eight other entries from lining up, as several have been given the option of the Ryanair Chase.

After showcasing a good one, the Scottish circuit could volunteer another when proceeding to one of its most engaging occasions at Kelso on Thursday. Duke Of Navan is shaping up as a useful novice and, assuming the track passes an inspection this morning, seeks to maintain his progress in the Betvictor Morebattle Hurdle.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Evergreen Forest (7.0 Kempton) Has produced his two best runs in blinkers over course and distance, well clear of third when heavily backed last time.

Next best

Diplomatic (5.30 Kempton) Better than ever since being fitted with cheekpieces and teaming up with a gifted claimer.

Where's the money going

Tidal Bay is 14-1 from 16-1 with Coral for the John Smith's Grand National, while Beshabar is 25-1. from 33-1.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Mock the tweet: Ukip leader Nigel Farage and comedian Frankie Boyle
peopleIt was a polite exchange of words, as you can imagine
Life and Style
fashion
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Humanities and Economics Teacher - January 2015 - Malaysia

£18000 - £20400 per annum + Accommodation, Flights, Medical Cover: Randstad Ed...

SEN Teaching Assistant needed for long term assignment

£45 - £55 per day: Randstad Education Preston: We are looking for an experienc...

Primary Teachers Required in King's Lynn

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teachers needed in King's Ly...

Primary Teachers needed in Ely

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teacher needed in the Ely ar...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain