Donald McCain’s high-class hurdler Peddlers Cross made a particularly impressive novice chasing debut at Bangor on Wednesday, solidifying his position at the head of the horse racing betting ante-post market for the Grade 1 Irish Independent Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March, writes Elliot Slater.
Those after horse racing tips would do well to back one of the highest rated hurdlers to go over the larger obstacles in recent years having achieved a mark of 170 over timber, last season’s Champion Hurdle runner-up had reportedly schooled well at home and frightened off most of the opposition for the Golden Bear Beginners’ Chase at the Welsh track.
Sent off the 1/8 favourite Timmy Murphy’s mount never put a foot wrong and cruised around in second gear for most of the race before being given an inch of rein to assert and draw readily away from The Chazer, who was greatly flattered by the eventual winning margin of four-and-a-half-lengths.
Admitting that his stable star had done no more than expected, McCain was nonetheless delighted with the performance and suggested that the Tim Leslie-owned gelding might return to Bangor in three weeks time for his next outing as he gains more experience ahead of stiffer challenges ahead later on in the term.
Peddlers Cross arrived at the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last March as an unbeaten horse having strung together a tremendous series of wins in races such as the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, the Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle at the 2010 Cheltenham Novices Hurdle and the John Smith’s Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree the same season, and he went down with all guns blazing when meeting his first defeat at the hands of the tremendous Hurricane Fly last March.
Probably ’over the top’ when beaten again in the Aintree Hurdle a few weeks later, Peddlers Cross has the make and shape of a potentially top-notch chaser and on the back of his Bangor win bookmakers have cut him from 6/1 to 11/2f to win the Arkle Trophy.