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Melling Chase: Timeform preview and free Race Pass

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The Melling Chase (15:30) at Aintree on Friday is available as a free Race Pass, which means logged-in customers can view all our premium comments and ratings.

The Grade 1 Melling Chase at Aintree (15:30) looks the best-quality two and a half mile chase of the season as the seven-runner field includes the first three in last month’s Ryanair Chase but also a couple of other Grade 1 winners who could prove too strong for that trio. With several prolific winners in the line-up, they’ve won a remarkable 79 races between them.

Jonbon (Timeform weight-adjusted rating 184) was a notable absentee from the Queen Mother Champion Chase but Nicky Henderson steps him up from two miles for the first time here and a reproduction of his best form would make him very hard to beat if he proves as effective over this longer trip. Yet to finish out of the first two in his career, Jonbon suffered a shock defeat last time in the rearranged Clarence House Chase at Cheltenham but he made a shocking mistake four out on that occasion before recovering to go down by a neck to Elixir de Nutz. Earlier this season, Jonbon had beaten Edwardstone in both the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham and the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown, and he can regain the winning thread here.

Paul Nicholls’ consistent Pic d’Orhy (176) is another prolific winner who took this race last year and has solid claims again despite this looking a hotter renewal. Both his wins this season have come at Ascot, in the 1965 Chase in November and in the Ascot Chase last time where his slick jumping from the front carried him to a five and a half length victory over L’Homme Presse and earned him the ‘Horse In Focus’ flag. Runner-up in the same contest behind Shishkin last term before going one better here, the same approach means he’s coming here fresh again.

Protektorat (179) had four lengths to spare over Envoi Allen (177) in the Ryanair Chase last time with Conflated (165) another two and three quarter lengths back in third. Dan Skelton’s winner appreciated the drop back in trip at Cheltenham and with testing going on the cards again, he has his optimum conditions to be in the shake-up again. Envoi Allen had beaten Shishkin in last year’s Ryanair and has had a light campaign this time round, getting caught late on by Gerri Colombe in the Champion Chase at Down Royal in the autumn and running a cracker last time after making a mistake when upsides Protektorat jumping the last. Conflated finished a place behind Envoi Allen in both those races but it might have been a different story if more use had been made of him last time as he rallied well on the flat and finished with running left. He runs here in preference to carrying top weight in the Grand National, incidentally.

Hot Trainer’ Willie Mullins is in the rare position of fielding an outsider for all that Easy Game (172) is yet another prolific winner in this line-up. He’s generally been cleaning up in minor events and lesser graded races though, so has more on his plate than when winning the PWC Champion Chase at Gowran last September for a third time, jumping soundly as usual on the way to beating Gentlemansgame by a length and a half. He hasn’t been seen since but has gone well fresh in the past.

Minella Drama (163) ran up to his best when third to Pic d’Orhy in last year’s Melling Chase, though his task looks a stiffer one this time and he’s less likely to get his own way in front too. His second in the Old Roan Chase was another good effort over this course and distance, contributing to the ‘Horses For Courses’ flag and his latest second to Thunder Rock in the Premier Chase at Kelso signalled a return to form but he’s taking on top-notchers again now.

Timeform analyst’s verdict

The 1-2-3 from this year's Ryanair again do battle but it's a notable absentee from the Cheltenham Festival Jonbon who's selected to regain the winning thread having been undone by a rare jumping blip in the rearranged Clarence House on Trials Day in January. Confidence would only heighten should the yard's handful of runners go well on Thursday. Last year's winner Pic d'Orhy arrives fresh, so he may provide most resistance, ahead of recent Ryanair scorer Protektorat.

Timeform weight-adjusted ratings

184 Jonbon

179 Protektorat

177 Envoi Allen

176 Pic d’Orhy

176 Conflated

172 Easy Game

163 Minella Drama

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Just log in and click here to view the full card and Timeform analysis for the 15:30 at Aintree on Friday. You can subscribe to Race Passes to access every race here.

 
 

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Free Daily Race Pass (Result)

CURRAGH 15:45

Sunday 26 May
7. FALLEN ANGEL 1st
Daniel Tudhope silk Daniel Tudhope
K. R. Burke
1. A LILAC ROLLA (IRE) 2nd
C. T. Keane silk C. T. Keane
P. Twomey, Ireland
9. OPERA SINGER (USA) 3rd
Ryan Moore silk Ryan Moore
Aidan O'Brien, Ireland
Go to full race

LATEST HORSE RACING RESULTS

17:45 KELSO

1st Henry Brooke silk 1. GALE MAHLER (IRE) 5/42.25f
2nd Conor O'Farrell silk 2. BEAU DELLA (IRE) 85/403.12
3rd Mr John Dawson silk 6. LEWESDON DANCER 25/126
J: Henry Brooke  
All 11 ran.
FULL RESULT

17:35 FONTWELL PARK

1st Jonjo O'Neill Jr. silk 3. CAWTHORNE BANKER (IRE) 7/42.75f
2nd Freddie Gordon silk 1 1. HAPPY BOY (FR) 85/403.12
3rd Rex Dingle silk 12 6. SARSEN (USA) 6/17
All 8 ran.
FULL RESULT

17:25 CURRAGH

1st G. F. Carroll silk 11. FAIRYTALE PRINCESS (IRE) 20/121
2nd C. D. Hayes silk 14. GRAPPA NONINO (IRE) 10/111
3rd N. M. Crosse silk 19. RAIN (GER) 14/115
4th Shane Foley silk 6. BAY OF SANIBEL (GER) 4/15jf
17 ran. NRs: 2  5 
FULL RESULT

17:20 UTTOXETER

1st Harry Skelton silk 1. MR HOPE STREET (IRE) 5/42.25f
2nd K. Brogan silk 1 8. GETAWAY WITH YOU 7/24.5
T: Dan Skelton  
7 ran. NRs: 7 
FULL RESULT

17:10 KELSO

1st Mr Milo Herbert silk 5. YIPPEE KI YAY (IRE) 1/12f
2nd Mr John Dawson silk 4. SUPER CITIZEN 10/111
3rd Miss Ellie Callwood silk ½ 6. BOTHWELL BRIDGE (IRE) 11/43.75
J: Mr Milo Herbert (7)  
9 ran. NRs: 2  7 
FULL RESULT

17:00 FONTWELL PARK

1st Adam Wedge silk 6. DANZINI (IRE) 4/15
2nd Ben Godfrey silk 3. DEAR RALPHY (IRE) 5/16
J: Adam Wedge  
T: Keiran Burke  
All 7 ran.
FULL RESULT

16:50 CURRAGH

1st Ben Martin Coen silk 3. HANALIA (IRE) 11/26.5
2nd Ryan Moore silk 4. LILY HART (IRE) 2/13f
3rd C. D. Hayes silk 8. SIDIZA (IRE) 8/19
8 ran. NRs: 5 
FULL RESULT

16:45 UTTOXETER

1st Chris Ward silk 7. CHEF DE TROUPE (FR) 18/119
2nd Sean Bowen silk 1. HOMME D'UN SOIR (FR) 5/23.5
J: Chris Ward (3)  
T: Tony Forbes  
6 ran. NRs: 3 
FULL RESULT

16:35 KELSO

1st Danny McMenamin silk 5. BARON BRIGGS (IRE) 9/43.25f
2nd Henry Brooke silk 7. DERWENT DEALER (IRE) 15/28.5
7 ran. NRs: 3 
FULL RESULT
Go to Horse Racing Results