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By Tom Peacock, Press Association Sport. Last Updated: 17/03/10 6:02pm
Peddlers Cross wins the Neptune at Cheltenham.
Training talent must run deep through the veins of McCain family as Donald, son of Aintree legend Ginger, landed a third Cheltenham Festival success courtesy of the unbeaten Peddlers Cross in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle on Wednesday.
While Ginger dominated the Grand National through the 1970s with legendary three-time winner Red Rum, McCain jnr has made Cheltenham his own playground since taking over the family licence in 2006.
Cloudy Lane the following year and Whiteoak in 2008 propelled McCain into the spotlight, and Peddlers Cross provided a hat-trick of wins under Jason Maguire.
The jockey was aboard when the Tim Leslie-owned five-year-old blew away connections with a piece of work at Bangor last week and he stuck like glue to the inside rail at the head of affairs aboard the 7-1 chance.
Although Dermot Weld's Rite Of Passage loomed large charging down the hill, Maguire was still going great guns on the inner and hollowed Challow Hurdle winner Reve De Sivola into the home run.
The Cholmondeley raider jumped to the lead over the final flight and the result was never in doubt from then as he pulled a length and a half clear of Reve De Sivola in the two-mile-five-furlong event.
McCain said: "After he won his novice hurdle at Bangor, Jason got off him and said he was the best horse he'd ever ridden.
"I had to ring him up on the way home to double check what he'd said as I didn't want to question him straight after, but he's a machine.
"He did a piece of work at Bangor last week that scared me to death - it was mind-blowing.
"We were scared he'd run too free but although he ran with the choke out a bit for the first mile, he's missed a hurdle down the far side and that settled him.
"That is the first time he has come off the bridle but with a stable jockey you know their body language and I started believing two out.
"Whiteoak was quick, but he has speed to burn.
"We were thinking about the two-and-a-half-mile race at Aintree as the obvious next step but there's no rush, we'll get him home and take it from there."
Peddlers Cross was introduced at 10-1 by the sponsors for the 2011 Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
"What can I say - it has all been passed down the ladder," said McCain snr.
"If he was with a proper trainer he would have won 10 lengths!
"Donald has almost had a winner here a season since getting his licence, which shows he is under good supervision.
"I wasn't quite sure about his horse as I thought some of his races were suspect. This was crunch day and he has stepped up to it."
Maguire added: "I'm absolutely delighted. We walked the course this morning and, fair play to Donald, it was his decision to go over two miles and five.
"The horse showed plenty of gears over two miles in soft ground and some thought this might be a bit far for him, but he's done it well.
"If I'd got beat I would have said I sat too long, but he's just a fair horse."
Reve De Sivola attempted to end the woeful record of Challow Hurdle winners in this race, but Nick Williams' five-year-old came off second best.
His part-owner, Andrew Mount, said: "He probably could have done with having something to race with after the leader ducked out, but I thought the winner was very professional in the way he did it.
"Our horse needs time between his races so he'll therefore miss Aintree and possibly go to Punchestown."
Dermot Weld was chasing just his second Cheltenham Festival win some 20 years after Rare Holiday's Triumph Hurdle success but his Rite Of Passage could manage no better than third.
The master of Rosewell House said: "I'm very pleased. You'd always like to win, but he ran a very good race and was beaten by two very good horses.
"He's now more likely to have a Flat campaign, and you would hope by the end of the year he might make his way Down Under for the Melbourne Cup."