Peddlers Cross Too Much for Binocular to Bear
1 Peddlers Cross 9/4
Peddlers Cross made the transition from novice company to the top table in the best possible style with a superb victory in the stanjames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newbury.
Champion Hurdle hero Binocular threw down his challenge at the last but was soon dismissed and Peddlers Cross (9-4) was driven out to beat Starluck by a length and a quarter.
Maguire said: "He did it great, he's come up against the top league now and he's the star we thought we had.
"They've gone steady enough and I was at the front turning in. We always thought a stronger pace might be better, but that shows he's got the boot if he needs it.
"He was very good today, relaxed in the race, and if we can keep him in that frame of mind, that will help. I think he's definitely a Champion Hurdle horse."
McCain added: "We knew he was very good, but he was a novice last year and until you step up you don't really know.
"He's done everything we hoped. He's absolutely frightening - the speed he's got is phenomenal. I've never dealt with a horse like this, but we've got one now.
"We came here to find out if we are a championship two-miler and we are. He can only improve for Cheltenham, a bigger field and a stronger pace, but I wouldn't have a clue where we'll go next."
Nicky Henderson was unfazed by the defeat of his Champion Hurdle winner Binocular on his return to action in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newbury.
The 5/6 favourite was brought up to challenge Peddlers Cross as they went to the last flight, but weakened into third behind the winner and Starluck.
Henderson said: "He came there with his chance, blew up and he wasn't going to win - in fairness he wasn't knocked about after his chance had gone as there was no point.
"If AP (McCoy) is happy so am I, and he was happy afterwards. He jumped beautifully, he was slick, clean and quick. He's a big, burly horse at the moment and is probably finding his work a bit easy.
"Of course we wanted to win, but fair play to the winner and second, they are good horses and we didn't underestimate them in any way.
"But March is March and that is what we are after. I'm not disturbed - if you take it in the context of last year's Fighting Fifth he was 100% better.
"The Christmas Hurdle is the plan, which is why we wanted the race on today and were so grateful to Newbury and everyone else involved for getting it on."
Alan Fleming is looking forward to a repeat trip to Kempton with Starluck following his honourable defeat.
"You can't be disappointed as Donald (McCain) holds the winner in the highest regard," he said. "He will improve a bit, he wasn't quite 100% today, and he will definitely go for the Christmas Hurdle."
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