Be At Peace With Your Sensitive Soul

Freddie Mercury once sang “There’s no reason for living with a broken heart”. We’ve all been there; you don’t want to go out, eat or sleep and you can bet your life that everything you do goes wrong. Your confidence drops to zero and you are a shadow of your former self.

Call me mad and plenty do, but I honestly believe that the reason Peddlers Cross failed to shine last season, was entirely down to the fact that Hurricane Fly shattered every fibre of his heart and soul in the 2011 Champion Hurdle. In the winners enclosure post race, Peddlers was a broken horse, head bowed with the look of a being that had given his all, every sinew was strained with the fuel tank sitting on empty. I think I wrote at the time that Donald McCain was a true gentleman in being the first person to shake Willie Mullins’ hand. The owner’s expressions left a lot to be desired though, always be gracious in defeat, it’s the only way. However, I digress.

Peddlers Cross blazed into the 2010/11 National Hunt Season on the back of a Neptune win at Cheltenham and a Mersey Novices win at Aintree. The future was bright; victories in the Fighting Fifth and the Morebattle ensued putting him rightfully in the market as second favourite behind Hurricane Fly for the Champion Hurdle. If you watch the replay again Peddlers Cross is absolutely swinging on the free-wheel down the hill. As they turn for home he comes under pressure but he is all heart; still he presses Hurricane Fly and gives him a fright. The way the pair of them took the final hurdle will forever be etched on my memory but that’s for another article as I’m sure you can imagine. So what happened after Cheltenham 2011? Well, Peddlers Cross should never have gone to Aintree in the state he was in after the Champion Hurdle. All credit to Donald McCain for holding his hands up and saying that run was a mistake. Two facile wins over inferior opposition at Bangor didn’t really tell us anything and my feeling on the run behind Sprinter Sacre at Christmas 2011 is this.We know now that Peddlers Cross would not have beaten Sprinter Sacre in a month of Sundays but the Kempton track would not have suited him one bit. That defeat only cemented the confidence issues that were already deep rooted from the defeat by the Fly. In the run up to Cheltenham last year there was increased frustration emanating from team McCain; they could not find of anything of great note that was physically troubling him but he just wasn’t himself. Cue an eleventh hour switch to the Jewson from the Arkle. Watching him in the Jewson he was a sorry sight, jumping alarmingly right, making blunders and finishing seventy three lengths behind Sir Des Champs. Heart in tatters, confidence shot to bits. So the main stage awaits Peddlers Cross once again, preparation consists of a second place in a Jumpers Bumper and a victory at Musselburgh that was crabbed by some. He did what was asked, looked after himself and more importantly; to my eye he had the old spark. Rightly or wrongly I still believe he can play a part in the World Hurdle. The pictures from Donald McCain’s media day depict a beautiful horse who just wants to once again trust his instincts and do what is natural to him. My advice to Peddlers Cross is this; focus on the hill and forget all what went before. As certain as the tide rises and falls, life will test you to your limits but it will also reward you greatly. Somewhere in that glittering paradise is the Salvation you have been looking for, embrace it and don’t let it go. Take the sponsors 10/1 on Peddlers Cross to win Ladbrokes World Hurdle. Just in case you have read this and are thinking about calling the men in white coats for me, I refer you to a post on Joe McNallys (@steeplechasing) excellent blog. Of course racehorses can have broken hearts. As Joe says – look at Mill House. @CathrynFry