My Pension Expert Melling Chase
Grade 1, Aintree 15:30
£250,000 guaranteed,
5yo plus,
2m 3f 200y, Class 1   
Friday 12th April 2024


1 Jonbon 11/10F
2 Conflated 12/1
3 Protektorat 9/2
7 ran Distances: 1¼l, 1¼l, 20l
Time: 5m 12.29s (slow by 20.29s)

Jonbon showcased his stamina, securing a Grade 1 hat-trick for owner JP McManus.

Trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Nico de Boinville, this classy eight-year-old had previously triumphed in the Shloer Chase and Tingle Creek over shorter distances. However, a narrow setback in the rearranged Clarence House and missing the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival due to stable form issues had raised concerns.

Undeterred, Jonbon stepped up to two and a half miles for the first time. Under Nico de Boinville’s expert guidance, he traveled supremely, closely tracking the leaders. Jack Kennedy aboard Conflated set a stiff stamina test, with Pic D’Orhy and Minella Drama in close pursuit. Jonbon and Protektorat stayed hot on their heels.

As they approached the final fences, Jonbon surged ahead, edging out Conflated. In a thrilling finish, Jonbon held off Conflated’s challenge to secure a hard-fought victory. Protektorat finished third in this exhilarating Grade One event.

Henderson said: “I don’t know why, but everybody loves him, I know JP does as well.

“He dug very deep today didn’t he? And he had to. His jumping was very slick and it was a great ride – you saw him at his best today.

“All the guys at home do a great job as if you change the routine, you could upset this fella very, very easily. I think we’ve got the hang of him now, we’re learning!

“I always wondered whether we should have been thinking about the Ryanair this year and when we stepped Shishkin up to two and a half we soon realised he actually wanted three. I’m not saying that about Jonbon at the moment as Nico thought that trip was perfect for him around here.

“I think the two and a half is probably ideal, although I’m trying to get Nico to say he’ll stay three. But we can think about those things during the summer.”

“He is a flagship horse. He’s been there a long time now, you can go back to when he was battling El Fabiolo here in a novice hurdle here two years ago – he’s been at the top for a fair old while.

“He’s just been a star all the way through and we love him, I hope he loves us!”

On the stable’s return to form, he added: “This horse was one of the special ones, obviously. I think we’re getting through it quite nicely now, that was great with Sir Gino yesterday and they’re all running well.

“This horse is a bit special, he’s been at the top of his game for a few years now and has never missed a beat. We can enjoy this one.

“We’ll never know whether missing Cheltenham has helped us with the horses coming here, you could say it’s possibly in our favour. The other horses have been to Prestbury Park and we were sadly stuck in our box at home with all of them.”


Marsh Melling Chase
£250,000 guaranteed, 5yo plus, 2m 3f 200y, Class 1
7 ran
Going: Soft

1    Jonbon 8 11-10 Nicky Henderson Nico de Boinville 11/10F

2 Conflated 10 11-10 Gordon Elliott Jack Kennedy 12/1
Protektorat 9 11-10 Dan Skelton Harry Skelton 9/2
20 Envoi Allen 10 11-10 Henry De Bromhead Rachael Blackmore 13/2
PU Pic D'Orhy 9 11-10 Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden 9/2
PU Easy Game 10 11-10 W P Mullins Paul Townend 20/1
PU Minella Drama 9 11-10 Donald McCain Brian Hughes 50/1

Horses 468x60 Jpg

Melling Chase - Previous Winners

2023 Pic D'Orhy
2022 Fakir D'Oudairies
2021 Fakir D'Oudairies
ABANDONED due to Covid-19
2019 Min
2018 Politologue
Fox Norton
God's Own
2015 Don Cossack
2014 Boston Bob
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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