Going a concern for Overturn
Overturn's next start as a steeplechaser may again be delayed with trainer Donald McCain expressing concerns over going conditions at Bangor on Friday.
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Having thrown his hat into the ring as a live contender for Cheltenham's Arkle Chase with a blistering bow over fences at Sandown last month, subsequent intended starts at Bangor and back at Sandown have both been aborted when conditions turned unsuitably soft.
In common with most places in Britain, the track at Bangor is currently frozen in places, but although the weather forecast points to an improvement in conditions McCain said that he might still be unwilling to risk Overturn on going officially described as "soft".
"The place is in great nick as always," the trainer told At The Races. The ground is a bit slower than ideal, we've still got a couple of days, and there is still a touch of frost in the ground.
"It just leaves it 50/50 at the moment. I would like it quicker.
"He's a very smart horse, he always has been and he enjoys jumping fences, which is the main thing.
"At the moment the world's his oyster and we'll be aiming at the Arkle. He's got Cheltenham form and he's as good a two-mile novice chaser as you'll see at the moment."
McCain also news of updated plans for Peddlers Cross, who is pencilled in to make his seasonal return in a two-and-a-half-mile conditions hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year's Day, won last year by Oscar Whisky.
"Peddlers galloped this morning and we're very happy with him but we're not ready yet," he said. "I think we will look to going to the race at Cheltenham.
"There's never too many options for horse like him at any stage. We would have liked to have had him ready by now but he's just taken a bit of time. He was late back in and had done very well over the summer. But he worked well this morning and we're happy."
Stablemate Cinders And Ashes is another horse with options over the weeks ahead, but it is towards Kempton's Christmas Hurdle that McCain is leaning with last year's Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner.
"We didn't see the best of him at Newcastle last time - not by a long way," said the trainer. "He's a strong-travelling horse and he was beaten coming past the stands first time. But he needed to get started and he needed to start running at a higher level. What's to be gained from leaving him in his box?
"In the back of my mind, we'll be aiming towards Kempton [rather than Leopardstown] as you tend to get better ground there. We're being dictated to by ground."