Betfred Melling Chase
Grade 1, Aintree
£200,000 added,
5yo plus,
2m 4f, Class 1
Friday 4th April 2014

1 Boston Bob 5/1
2 Rolling Aces 16/1
3 Ballynagour 5/1
NR: Module (FR)
10 ran Distances: 3¼l, 1¼l, 1¾l
TIME 4m 58.10s (slow by 10.10s)

With Ruby Walsh out injured after a fall at the Cheltenham Festival, Paul Townend proved a more than able deputy aboard Boston Bob when riding the Andrea and Graham Wylie-owned nine-year-old to victory in the Betfred Melling Chase.

Boston Bob
© Caroline Norris
Boston Bob

The winning jockey said: "He answered every call, even after the last he picked up really well and galloped to the line. It was a lovely performance. I didn't want to put him on his head early on so I let him work his way into it and find his rhythm.

"I thought I was in trouble a bit jumping the fourth last, but I wanted to hang on to him a bit and he quickened up well. I got a nice split down the inner between the last two and I didn't want a repeat of Cheltenham last year, so I just let him pop the last. He pulled out plenty after that.

"He took two horrible falls last year and needed to get his confidence back, but he is actually a very good jumper. He seems to have sorted himself out and deserved that."

Referring to his injured colleague, Townend added: "I'm fortunate and Ruby's unfortunate but it's really good to ride a big winner here for Willie [Mullins]."

Wylie said: "Ruby [Walsh] got off after the Ryanair Chase and said that it was progress because he got round and actually enjoyed it. So we thought that we would bring him here - we thought that yesterday's race was just a bit too hot for him, so we put him in this two and a half mile race.

"He's a three mile horse really but he jumped great and what a brilliant ride by Paul [Townend]. He was out the back for a long way and then produced him at the right point - it was super.

"We started him off over hurdles this season to get his confidence back. Willie decided that he wasn't going for the World Hurdle because of his run in the Cleeve Hurdle and we would try him back over fences. The Ryanair gave him a confidence boost and today was brilliant."

Mullins said: "A bit of nice ground has helped Boston Bob today. We gave him a break and then brought him back and I thought he ran better than his finishing position at Cheltenham.

"Afterwards, I said we would look at the two races here and even though two and a half miles is not his trip, I thought this race was much easier. He shows me speed at home and I was surprised I couldn't win races at short of three miles with him, but at least he has done it today. He has plenty of time to go on to Punchestown now and his owners will probably have two runners in the Gold Cup there with this horse and On His Own."

Horses 468x60 Jpg

Betfred Melling Chase (Grade 1)
£200,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m 4f, Class 1
10 ran
Going: Good, Good to Soft in places

Boston Bob
W P Mullins
P Townend
11st 10lbs
5 - 1
Rolling Aces
P F Nicholls
Nick Scholfield
11st 10lbs
16 - 1
3 1/4 lengths
D Pipe
T Scudamore
11st 10lbs
5 - 1
1 1/4 length
Toner D'Oudairies
G Elliott
D N Russell
11st 10lbs
14 - 1
1 3/4 length
M F Morris
B T O'Connell
11st 10lbs
16 - 1
2 lengths
Pepite Rose
Miss V Williams
Aidan Coleman
11st 3lbs
9 - 1
Short Head
Rajdhani Express
N J Henderson
Mr S Waley-Cohen
11st 10lbs
7 - 2
7 lengths
Wishfull Thinking
P J Hobbs
R Johnson
11st 10lbs
9 - 2
4 lengths
French Opera
N J Henderson
B J Geraghty
11st 10lbs
25 - 1
3 lengths
Days Hotel
H de Bromhead
A E Lynch
11st 10lbs
9 - 1
14 lengths
T R George
P J Brennan
11st 10lbs



Trainer Paul Nicholls has the new two-mile six furlong Listed Chase at Sandown in April in mind after Rolling Aces went down by three and a quarter lengths behind Boston Bob this afternoon.

Rolling Aces
© Racehorse Photos
Rolling Aces

The 16/1 shot jumped the last in front as eventual winner Boston Bob and the third-placed Ballynagour challenged on either side but he couldn't quite get on top in the run-in, leaving Nicholls planning for the future following the race.

"He didn't go in the ground when he was beaten at Ascot last time out and the better ground has definitely suited him here," said Nicholls.

"He's also had a problem with his breathing so we tied his tongue down today and that's also helped. I've been quite hard on him at home in the last month as I just thought he was taking the mickey a little bit.

"It was a solid run though but I think he prefers to go right-handed. I've got the new two-mile six furlong Listed chase at Sandown in mind for him next month and I would think he'll head there."

Trainer David Pipe was also pleased with the run of Ballynagour, who finished a further length and a quarter back in third.

"I'm very pleased," said Pipe.

"He's taken the step up in class very well but, more importantly, he's now put two consistent runs together which he hasn't done in the past.

"We're still experimenting with the way we train him at the moment but you'd hope he'd be a nice horse again next season."

The stewards noted that Rolling Aces had interfered with Rathlin (fifth) who then interfered with Pepite Rose (sixth) approaching the last but, after viewing a recording of the incident, they were satisfied that it neither involved a riding offence nor improved Rolling Aces' placing.

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Melling Chase - Previous Winners

2013 Sprinter Sacre Caroline Mould Nicky Henderson 07-11-10 Barry Geraghty 1/3F
2012 Finian’s Rainbow Michael Buckley Nicky Henderson 09-11-10 Barry Geraghty 13/8F
2011 Master Minded Clive Smith Paul Nicholls 08-11-10 Ruby Walsh 11/2

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