Grade One Melling Chase Guide 2021

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Aintree - April 08 2021
Aintree 14:25
8
Harry Cobden

Politologue

J:
 
Harry Cobden
T:
 
Paul Nicholls
Age: 10
Weight: 11-7
OR: 168
Days: 76

It was thought that the 10 year old would never be able to get back to his best Grade One winning form last year having raced twice before the festival, finishing second of four on debut in the Shloer Chase and then fifth of eight in the Tingle Creek, where again he finished behind Defi Du Seuil.

However, his win in the Champion Chase saw him back to his best and although the big hitters like Altior and Chacun Pour Soi were pulled out of the event which took the shine off the race, the grey was still the best horse on the day and under a superb ride from the front jumped the field into submission

His handler Paul Nicholls believed that his win in that race was not a fluke and with another great preparation he showed just how good he is when landing the Grade One Tingle Creek Chase for the second time in his career, on his seasonal debut.

Off the back of that win, he went seeking another Grade One success in the Clarence House and he was seen off by the Kim Bailey trained First Flow with ease.

He went to Cheltenham looking to defend his Champion Chase title and was pulled out before the start if the race and might be fresher than others because of that.

Is becoming a veteran now and although winning this back in 2018, he will need more today having mostly been running over two miles.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
09/04/21AIN20GS11-74
23/01/21ASC17Sft11-72
05/12/20SAN15.5Sft11-71
11/03/20CHL16Sft11-101
07/12/19SAN15.5Sft11-75
Aintree - April 08 2021
Aintree 14:25
3
Mark Walsh

Fakir D'oudairies

J:
 
Mark Walsh
T:
 
Joseph Patrick O'Brien
Age: 6
Weight: 11-7
OR: 162
Days: 22

Bounded onto the scene in the UK when bolting up a Grade Two at Cheltenham for juveniles. His impressive antics saw the gold and green of McManus swoop and purchase him before he was sent off favourite for that years’ Supreme. 

Beaten into the he stayed on like a trooper and hinted then that his future could lie over further than the minimum trip. 

Immediately moved to chasing, he made handy use of his four year old weight for age allowance. Beating Melon on chase debut, he was then a lucky winner of the Grade One Drinmore when Samcro blundered two out. 

Second in last years’ Arkle he again looked tapped for a bit of pace. 

In open company he’s run over two miles to be beaten by Notebook, three miles where he didn’t stay the trip and pulled up and then dropped right back down to two miles to be second to Chacun Pour Soi in the Dublin Chase. 

He doesn’t stay three miles, he’s not fast enough to be effective over two miles and having finished a good second last time out behind Allaho in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham festival, maybe today might just be the day to get his head in front with 2m4f looking perfect for him.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
28/04/21PUN24.5Y11-123
09/04/21AIN20GS11-71
18/03/21CHL20.5GS11-102
06/02/21LEO17.5Sft11-122
28/12/20LEO24Y11-12P
Aintree - April 08 2021
Aintree 14:25
5
Sam Twiston-Davies

Master Tommytucker

J:
 
Sam Twiston-Davies
T:
 
Paul Nicholls
Age: 10
Weight: 11-7
OR: 160
Days: 48

Having been a horse with bundles of potential but never really showing it, this term he seems to have turned over a new leaf and his jumping has improved massively.

Although winning on his seasonal debut last term, he then went on to fall twice in a row, with many thinking his potential was short lived.

However, he made his return this season at Newton Abbott and jumped much better to finish a good second behind Al Dancer.

From there he has really kicked on landing back to back races with superb jumping displays, especially two starts ago at Haydock when winning a good Graduation Chase by 15 lengths.

Nicholls decided to send him to Cheltenham in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup and off top weight was underwhelming, finishing seventh.

He put things right last time out when winning the Grade Two Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton, albeit the favourite Imperial Aura falling at the first.

Last time out he went to Ascot seeking Grade One glory in the Ascot Chase but he was out battled by Dashel Drasher and he will need to reverse that form.

He still has question marks over his jumping and he will need a career best performance to win this.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
20/02/21ASC21Sft11-72
09/01/21KEM20.5GS11-01
12/12/20CHL20.5Sft11-127
21/11/20HAY21.5Sft11-81
10/11/20HUN20Gd11-71
Aintree - April 08 2021
Aintree 14:25
1
Matt Griffiths

Dashel Drasher

J:
 
Matt Griffiths
T:
 
Jeremy Scott
Age: 8
Weight: 11-7
OR: 162
Days: 48

During his career the eight year old has raced four times at Ascot, once over 2m3f and the last twice over 2m5f and he is currently unbeaten, and might come across as an Ascot Specialist which might leave him vulnerable at this track.

However, he has always been a smart horse over this distance, running well in defeat in Novices' events last season, but this term has shown superb winning form in handicaps and Grade One latest.

Having finished third at Haydock behind Master Tommytucker on seasonal debut he has since gone on to land three races in a row at Ascot over 21 furlongs

Last time out he was seen taking the Grade One Ascot Chase, outstaying Master Tommytucker and having been pulled out of the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham he should be fresh for this.

Has to prove again he is a Grade One standard horse away from Ascot.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
20/02/21ASC21Sft11-71
23/01/21ASC21Sft11-101
19/12/20ASC21Hy11-71
21/11/20HAY21.5Sft11-83
04/12/19HAY21.5Sft11-01
Aintree - April 08 2021
Aintree 14:25
6
Rachael Blackmore

Notebook

J:
 
Rachael Blackmore
T:
 
Henry De Bromhead
Age: 8
Weight: 11-7
OR: 162
Days: 23

Notebook goes in this event for Henry De Bromhead and this eight year old is a superb talent over two miles, but stepping up in trip looks vulnerable.

Having been a fair hurdler, he was stepped up over fences for the first time in October last year and the six year old headed to Punchestown and saw off a nice Gigginstown horse that went on to frank the form.

The gelding off the back of that stepped into a Grade Two and again blew the field away in great style and next on the agenda was the Christmas festival at Leopardstown.

He went into the Grade One Novice Chase and in a field with Laurina and Fakir D'oudairies he rose to the challenge to again win by a comfortable margin.

Keeping his run of wins going he stepped into his toughest contest at the Dublin Racing Festival in the Grade One Arkle Novice Chase where him and Cashback went toe to toe and he managed to get up on the line.

His whole novice season was built towards the Arkle at the festival and having been unbeaten on all four of his starts prior to the run, not much went right for him on the day and having got light up before the race he could only finish a weak sixth.

This season he returned at Naas in the Grade Two Poplar Square Chase and got straight back to winning ways, reversing the form with Fakir D'Oudairies by beating him by 12 lengths.

Although a very talented prospect he looks no match for Chacun Pour Soi after being beaten easily by him next time out over Christmas.

He was third behind the Mullins horse again next time out at the Dublin Racing Festival and he was then laboured into seventh at the Cheltenham festival when well beaten in the Champion Chase.

Has it all to do.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
09/04/21AIN20GS11-77
17/03/21CHL16GS11-107
06/02/21LEO17.5Sft11-123
27/12/20LEO17Y12-02
21/11/20NAA16Sft/Hy11-121
Aintree - April 08 2021
Aintree 14:25
4
Gavin Sheehan

Itchy Feet

J:
 
Gavin Sheehan
T:
 
Olly Murphy
Age: 7
Weight: 11-7
OR: 154
Days: 48

Itchy Feet has been one of the yards best horses over the last few years having landed the yards first ever Grade One winner last term when taking the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown.

As a hurdler, the six year old gave a career best performance at the 2019 Cheltenham festival when finishing third behind the Willie Mullins trained Klassical Dream and stablemate Thomas Darby.

He was stepped up to fences last term and made a superb start to life over the bigger obstacles when taking his two events including that black type event at Sandown.

He then headed into the Marsh Novices' Chase at this year's Cheltenham festival and although being one of the market leaders could only unseat Gavin Sheehan early on in the contest.

He made his debut this season in the Grade Two Old Roan Chase at Aintree last month and off the back of his decent third, went to Ascot next time out and was a fair second behind the progressive gelding Imperial Aura for Kim Bailey.

Last time out he went back to Ascot over the same course and distance and again had to settle for second in a Graduation Chase behind Dashel Drasher, who has since franked the form.

The gelding headed to Haydock last time out stepping back down to hurdles for a confident booster and it did not work with him a tame fifth of seven in the Grade Two Rendlesham Hurdle.

Although Itchy Feet has been featuring in the frame, he has not been performing to the standard over fences that Murphy would like and stepping back over them today makes him opposable.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
09/04/21AIN20GS11-73
20/02/21HAY24.5Sft11-25
19/12/20ASC21Hy11-72
21/11/20ASC21Sft11-42
25/10/20AIN20Sft11-93
Aintree - April 08 2021
Aintree 14:25
2
Lorcan Williams

Duc Des Genievres

J:
 
Lorcan Williams
T:
 
Paul Nicholls
Age: 8
Weight: 11-7
OR: 155
Days: 23

Paul Nicholls third attack on the race is the ex Willie Mullins trained Duc Des Genievres that is best known for landing the 2019 Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham festival.

Since then the gelding very much lost his was for Mullins, putting in many below par performances and his connections decided to switch him to Nicholls.

He has been seen twice under the Ditcheat handler, sparking a bit of a revival on debut for the yard in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham when nearly making all to just finish second behind 2020 Arkle winner Put The Kettle On.

Next time out he ran to a fair standard once more finishing third behind Nube Negra and Altior in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton over Christmas.

Off the back of that run he went to Ascot for the Grade One Clarence House Chase and once he again he proved he can not mix it with the best at this level.

Dropped into a handicap last time out at Cheltenham, he could only finish eighth of 17 in the Grand Annual Chase and that form is not good enough stepping back up in class.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
01/06/21COM18Sft11-31
08/05/21AUT18VSft10-102
09/04/21AIN20GS11-75
17/03/21CHL16GS11-97
23/01/21ASC17Sft11-77
Aintree - April 08 2021
Aintree 14:25
7
Danny McMenamin

Nuts Well

J:
 
Danny McMenamin
T:
 
Ann Hamilton
Age: 10
Weight: 11-7
OR: 159
Days: 166

The final runner of the event is the Ann Hamilton trained Nuts Well that although is a very classy performer, looks to have it all to do stepping up in class.

The gelding has won five of his last six events over fences, with his biggest scalps coming on both his runs this term when taking a nice Handicap Chase at Kelso on seasonal debut and then last time out taking the Old Roan Chase over course and distance in October.

When landing that Grade Two he saw off Clondaw Castle, who has since franked the form and also beat Itchy Feet who looks held with Nuts Well.

Consistent course and distance winner, but coming off a break into a Grade One looks tough.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
09/04/21AIN20GS11-72
25/10/20AIN20Sft11-71
04/10/20KEL17GS11-41
29/02/20DON16.5Hy11-03
01/02/20WET19.5Sft11-71
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