- Horse Racing
Workmanlike Peddlers raises more questions
Peddlers Cross was made to work hard for victory in the Howies Restaurants Edinburgh Hurdle.
Donald McCain's charge is bidding to get his career back on track after a poor end to last term and connections are looking at the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
He was faced with hugely inferior rivals at Musselburgh but he was forced to dig deep to see off a horse rated 35 pounds below him on official ratings.
Peddlers Cross' stable companion Ubaltique set off at a brisk pace and quickly opened up an advantage. Jason Maguire was in no rush aboard Peddlers Cross, who measured his obstacles like a top-class horse.
Maguire allowed his mount to move into contention turning out of the back straight and he moved to the front three from home.
Ubaltique was quickly beaten off and it was Cue To Cue who gave chase to Peddlers Cross. The 1/5 favourite had a two-length lead at the last but Cue To Cue kept coming and Maguire had to get serious after the last.
Peddlers Cross never looked like being beaten, but he will need to improve markedly if he is to mount a challenge at The Festival.
It would appear connetions were pleased enough with the performance. Speaking to Racing UK, McCain said: "I thought he'd win a little more impressively, but Jason was full of it afterwards and he's the man that matters.
"He's always been very switched off when he hits the front, he can be lazy, and that's what he did there.
"If you see what we see at home every day Peddlers Cross hasn't changed, his work is sensational.
"I think it has to be [the World Hurdle at Cheltenham] but I don't like making snap decisions at the races, I'll have a chat with Tim [Leslie, owner] on the way home."