Peddlers Cross: he's the best workhorse I've seen says Donald McCainPICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
Better ground key to Cinders says McCain
DONALD McCAIN has described last season's William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Cinders And Ashes as having a "massive each-way chance" in the Stan James Champion Hurdle on March 12.
A general 14-1 for the Cheltenham contest, Cinders And Ashes has failed to sparkle this season in his two runs on heavy ground, first when second in the Fighting Fifth and then finishing fifth in the Christmas Hurdle.
However the prospect of better ground at the festival, where the going was good to soft, soft in places on Tuesday, encourages optimism in the six-year-old.
"He's very much a decent-ground horse," said McCain, who has had Peddlers Cross and Overturn finish second in the last two Champion Hurdles.
"The easiest thing for me would have been not to run him anywhere this season but that wouldn't have done him any good.
"The worst thing that was going to happen was that he was going to get beaten, and he has been beaten a couple of times, but I don't think he can be judged until he gets his ground. I'd like to think we'll see a completely different horse in two weeks' time.
"We're ready to go and he has a massive each-way chance. When he's had his ground, the form is there."
Peddlers Cross has been stepped up in trip and will tackle the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, which has an open feel with four-timer winner Big Buck's on the sidelines.
"Will he win a World Hurdle? I haven't got a clue," said the trainer. "Nothing's changed work-wise; he's the best workhorse I've seen. He's maturing, settling, and his jumping at Musselburgh was exceptional. I would expect him to be travelling very sweetly down to the second-last, and what happens from there I don't know."
McCain is also predicting Overturn can upset odds-on Racing Post Arkle favourite Simonsig, with tactics likely to play a crucial role.
"His way of racing will make it very difficult for the likes of Simonsig," added McCain. "He'll go his gallop and if he should go there and jump well and meet everything right, that makes him an even harder horse to get past."
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