Full race preview and free betting tips for the 3.05pm Melling Chase at Aintree.
On to Day 2 of the Aintree Festival and we have yet another highly competitive Grade 1 in the form of the Melling Chase. Run over 2m 4f this race has been won by the likes of Sprinter Sacre, Master Minded and Moscow Flyer. This year’s renewal has attracted a field of 11 runners all looking to follow in their illustrious footsteps.
Over half of this year’s field contested races at the Cheltenham Festival, one such horse is the highest rated runner in the race – MODULE (5/1 Stan James). His trainer Tom George was torn between a run in the Champion Chase or the Ryanair and in the end he chose the former where he finished third. Whether or not he would have fared better in the Ryanair is debatable, but he seemed to want a longer trip when staying on strongly in the Champion Chase after being outpaced and beaten by the impressive Sire De Grugy. Arguably one of this horses’ best pieces of form came on his first start this season at Exeter when he lost by a head in the Haldon Gold Cup. He looks to still be improving and a 2m 4f race on a track such as Aintree could well bring out the best in him.
Ballynagour (7/1 William Hill) routed his field in the Bryne Group Plate winning at the Festival with his head in his chest. A repeat of that piece of form would give him an outstanding chance, however there are doubts about this horses’ ability to do as such. He is regularly seen to best effect when fresh and has a record of bleeding and failing to run two solid races back to back. David Pipe has warned of his concern but he has also stated that the horse came out of Cheltenham very well. By the manner in which he finished on the bridle, he clearly didn't suffer a hard race and it could be that he will be able to produce another fine performance. At his current odds he certainly represents a good deal of value and is an interesting contender.
Another gallant display came in the Ryanair where Rajdhani Express (5/1 bet365) ran a great race to finish third to Dynaste. On only his second start of the season he built on a solid performance in the Paddy Power Gold Cup to put in an admirable performance at Cheltenham. He is yet to run at Aintree but shouldn't be inconvenienced by either the course or the ground conditions. With only 6lbs to find with the highest rated horse in the field, Rajdhani Express looks to have strong claims.
One horse who has experienced Aintree, and performed well at the track is Wishful Thinking (13/2 bet365). Now an 11 year-old this Philip Hobbs’ trained runner has winning C&D experience alongside three second place finishes at the track. He has shown his best form on ground with a bit a cut in it and any rainfall will be welcomed. Whether or not his age will hinder his ability to claim the victory is debatable. He arrives here after a relatively long season and could well be vulnerable to fresher and younger legs.
Willie Mullins saddles the frustrating Boston Bob (8/1 Betfred). After looking the likeliest winner (before falling) in the 2013 renewal of the RSA, this horse has somewhat disappointed. Switched between hurdles and fences, and tried over different trips, it seems that his ideal is still somewhat of an unknown. Until he rekindles his love for the game he doesn’t appeal as a betting proposition and it would be difficult to envisage him overturning his form with Rajdhani Express in this year’s Ryanair.
Of the others, Pepite Rose (14/1 Stan James) receives weight all round and was impressive on her latest start at Newbury. That came in a Class 2 handicap and this will be a far more difficult test for her. Rathlin (14/1 William Hill) and Toner D’oudaires (20/1 Betfred) represent Gigginstown but both look to be outclassed in this contest with recent form not sufficient enough to trouble the principles.
In what is an extremely difficult race to call, marginal preference has to go to MODULE. His third place finish to Sire De Grugy is arguably the best piece of form on offer and, when you consider he looked dead and buried rounding the final bend, his late rallying effort was mightily impressive. This looks his ideal trip and providing Cheltenham hasn’t left its mark he should run very well. The obvious dangers include the lightly raced Rajdhani Express and the unpredictable Ballynagour.
MODULE (WIN) (5/1 Stan James)
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