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).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...

Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

Loren Hughes: Financial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Loren Hughes: Are you looking for a new opportunity that wi...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Professional Services Firm - Oxford

£21000 - £24000 per annum + 21 days holidays: Ashdown Group: Technical Support...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor