Peddlers will not look for Christmas cheer at Kempton, says McCain

Emerging hurdling talent Peddlers Cross, who took the scalp of Binocular on Saturday on his first venture into the senior ranks, is unlikely to cross swords with the reigning king again until the Champion Hurdle. The new kid on the block will skip the next date on the top-level domestic two-mile circuit, next month's Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, in favour of the Grade Two trial at Haydock in January.

The five-year-old took his unbeaten run to seven in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newbury, a sequence that includes two victories over two and a half miles. The sharp Sunbury test is not considered one to play to his strengths, even though it is now established that they do include a highly effective burst of acceleration. "The speed he's got scares me to death," said trainer Donald McCain yesterday, "and he showed at Newbury what we see at home. But even so, Kempton would be the least likely track you'd want to send him to."

Binocular, who was more than seven lengths adrift on Saturday, with Starluck intervening, was ring-rusty on his seasonal reappearance – he jumped well but the outing will tighten him up physically – and trainer Nicky Henderson was quick to point out that the big day for which he will be honed is more than three months away.

But neither was Peddlers Cross, now alongside Irish challenger Hurricane Fly as second-favourite behind Binocular for the Festival showpiece in most lists, fully wound up. "I'm sure the other horses will improve," said McCain, "but so will we. Once he gets to the front he doesn't do a lot, but when Starluck came at him he picked up again. What he does is keep winning, which is what the job is about, and we still haven't got to the bottom of him."

The opportunity to see some of Ireland's title contenders, including Hurricane Fly, yesterday was lost with the meeting at snowbound Fairyhouse, now rescheduled for Thursday. Prospects in Britain are bleak. Some jumps cards this week have already been cancelled. There is an inspection at Folkestone this morning and Saturday's Tingle Creek meeting at Sandown is under threat.

Saturday's two chasing heroes, the Hennessy Gold Cup winner Diamond Harry and the gallant third Denman, were reported to have emerged from the contest unscathed. Denman will not appear again until the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Diamond Harry just once. The Lexus Chase at Leopardstown after Christmas or a prep at Cheltenham in January are the options pencilled in by trainer Nick Williams.

Today may be decision day forlast season's Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander, whose meeting with Kauto Star in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day has been in the balance since he suffered a cut leg winning return at Haydock nine days ago. "The wound is still open, but it's healing better every day," said the nine-year-old's trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies. "But he hasn't been out of his box since Haydock."

This week could be crucial to Noel Fehily, who suffered a suspected fractured wrist soon after being named as Kauto Star's rider at Kempton, replacing seriously injured Ruby Walsh. Fehily will see a specialist tomorrow and has not yet abandoned hope of partnering the great horse.

Turf account

Sue Montgomery's Nap

Sheila's Star (3.50 Wolverhampton)

Won last time despite a troubled passage and the way she stayed on under pressure that day suggests that today's furlong-longer trip should be within her capabilities.



Next best

Monte Major (3.20 Wolverhampton)

Reliable type who has already won eight times over today's course and has a senior rider back on board after two efforts in apprentice hands.



One to watch

Quartz de Thaix (V Williams), a ready and improving winner over hurdles at Aintree last week, looks sure to continue his progress when sent back over fences.



Where the money's going

Tony McCoy has hardened as favourite to be crowned the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year next month, now 8-11 from 4-5 with Ladbrokes. Golfer Graeme McDowell is 4-1 second favourite for a one-two for Northern Ireland.



Chris McGrath's Nap

Desert Location (4.50 Wolverhampton).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there