Peddlers returns at Kempton
Peddlers Cross will face classy performers Salden Licht and Sam Winner in the BetVictor Non Runner Free Bet Cheltenham "Jumpers' Bumper" National Hunt Flat Race at Kempton on Friday.
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Donald McCain's 2011 Champion Hurdle runner-up has been ready to run for some weeks now but has been repeatedly thwarted by the weather.
With a chasing campaign on hold, McCain is trying to get him ready for either the Champion Hurdle or the World Hurdle in March, but the Aintree Hurdle at the Grand National meeting is also in the mix.
"He's unbeaten first time out but this is slightly different. 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.
"It will just be nice to get him back on track and rolling.
"It's not ideal, but we want him to enjoy it, mainly.
"If he comes back in one piece hopefully it will give us an idea which direction we are going in.
"There are no firm plans as to which race he will go for at Cheltenham - I'd like to be clearer in my mind about that but the weather has meant that we are a bit behind schedule.
"Aintree is obviously very much in the mix. We'd like to go to Cheltenham but if it looks like Aintree could be his race, we'll go there.
"We wanted to be further down the line with him now but circumstances have conspired against us."
Paul Nicholls is supporting the meeting with three high-profile runners amongst a strong team.
Along with Sam Winner, Nicholls runs Pearl Swan, who fell at the last in the Triumph Hurdle when still in with a chance, and Ranjaan, who was well fancied for The Ladbroke when last seen.
"The Betfair Hurdle (Newbury, February 9) is the aim for Pearl Swan and then on to Cheltenham, hopefully," said Nicholls.
"It's just been a bit of a rush with him at home so this will hopefully help bring him along fitness-wise.
"There's money to aim for so they may as well run here than do a piece of work at home.
"The thing with Ranjaan is he wants good ground, it was all against him in the Ladbroke.
"There's been no point running him in the heavy so we decided to keep his fitness levels up with a run here.
"He's also in the Betfair but he has other options as well.
"Sam Winner will go straight to the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham after this, so it's worked out nicely for him."