Peddlers Cross chased home Hurricane Fly in the 2011 Champion HurdlePICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Cross makes comeback in bumper at Kempton
FRIDAY'S "jumpers' bumpers" card at Kempton sees the eagerly awaited racecourse return of 2011 Champion Hurdle runner-up Peddlers Cross, with the Donald McCain's eight-year-old returning from a 316-day absence.
After a novice campaign that culminated with victories at the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals, Peddlers Cross went on to win the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth and the Morebattle at Kelso before tasting defeat for the first time at the hands of Hurricane Fly.
That prompted a switch to fences and he got his chasing career off to a fantastic start with two bloodless wins at Bangor and heading the ante-post betting for the Racing Post Arkle. But a traumatic encounter with Sprinter Sacre derailed his season and he disappointed, both at Kempton and Cheltenham.
Not seen since, connections have decided to return to hurdles with Peddlers Cross and with Saturday's rearranged Champion Hurdle trial at Doncaster lost and the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham a last resort, McCain has opted to reintroduce his charge to the racecourse in a bumper.
"He's had a long time off and has had a few niggles so we are hoping to give him a nice experience on his return to racing. He'll get a good surface to race on, he's in good order at home and it's time to crack on with him," said McCain.
There are plenty of jumping stars on show, with Ericht, sent off the 5-1 favourite in the 2011 Champion Bumper, running in the 1.45 and Destroyer Deployed, who was second in that race at the festival, running in the 3.55.
Pearl Swan, four lengths off the leader when falling at the last in the Triumph Hurdle is another having his first run since Cheltenham in the 2.15, while his stablemate Sam Winner runs in the 2.50 against Peddlers Cross. It's a race in which Gary Moore runs recent Flat winner Megastar.
In the 4.55, McCain runs Drill Sergeant, who was once rated 108 on the Flat, lines up against Micheal Flips, Starluck and Betfair Hurdle hopeful Ranjaan.
All Friday's action comes from the all weather, with meetings at Dundalk, Lingfield and Wolverhampton.
Kempton Standard to Slow
Wolverhampton Standard to Slow