JLT Melling Chase
|Grade 1, Aintree 15:25
2m 3f 200y, Class 1
|Friday 5th April 2019
1 Min 2/1F
Min romps home in the JLT for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh
2 Politologue 5/2
3 Waiting Patiently 9/4
6 ran NR: Woodland Opera Distances: 20l, 9l, 10l
Time: 5m 2.70s (slow by 14.70s)
Ruby Walsh rode his second winner at this year's Randox Health Grand National Festival, and, remarkably, it looked even easier than the first.
His win yesterday on Kemboy
in the G1 Betway Bowl
was impressive, but Min's success in the G1 JLT Chase oozed superiority over his toiling rivals, including runner-up Politologue
. Twelve months ago the positions were reversed, and Min's trainer, Willie Mullins, said: "John Hales [the owner of Politologue] has just been across and said 'We need a decider next year'."
Min made all the running and won by 20 lengths from Politologue.
To the comment that Min's victory was the easiest of the week so far, Mullins said rhetorically: "Was Kemboy not impressive enough for you?
"The change of tactics, and letting him go back to just enjoying himself worked well, and Ruby said that from fence to fence he was just getting more confident.
"I always gave him a chance in this race - last year's race was close enough, and I felt that if we did things really right, and often times it is just one mistake that makes a difference, he was coming here in good form. He didn't have a hard race at Cheltenham when he sulked because we wanted him do what he didn't want to do, and today he just grew horns when he was allowed to do his own thing. That suited him.
"He seems to be as good over two and a half miles as he is over two miles, and we're wondering whether we ought to be going over a little further. People are saying would he get another few furlongs and that would put him in the picture for the King George
[on Boxing Day at Kempton].
"I think he's back to his best, and that may have been his best performance. He coped with everything fantastically before the race and looked really well - he has a fantastic summer coat on him already."
Walsh said: "We changed things at Cheltenham with him [he finished fifth behind Altior]. I was tired of being the mouse for Altior the cat to chase, but it didn't work. You've got to try something new when what you are doing isn't working, but it didn't work. I didn't think he jumped as well at Cheltenham as he can do either. But we schooled him over hurdles earlier this week and he attacked his fences today like a much happier horse.
"When he shortened into the last down the back and got distance through the air I thought, 'that's more like it'. He was doing plenty; he was a bit on my hands but he's always a live horse who wants to go forward. But the further we were going up the straight the faster we were going, even without asking him. He's a very honest horse who gives you whatever he has, anyway. It was a really good performance.
"Like everyone who gets a bit older, he's probably got a little slower, but it was a good performance and having been touched off here last year, it's nice to win it this time.
"He's won a couple of good races in Ireland this year. Just because he wasn't winning over here, doesn't mean he wasn't winning good races.
"He's usually a very good, accurate jumper who's quick with his feet and can take a half-stride when he needs to, and that was what was disappointing about Cheltenham - he didn't do that, whereas today he was bombing down there and you weren't even worried about the jumps: you knew he was going to do it."
"He got into a lovely rhythm today and jumped like a buck. Willie took the ear plugs out today and he was good and revved. I was a bit of a passenger for the first half mile, but you don't mind getting runaway with on something like this that knows where he is going and has the power and scope that he has. He is clever enough horse and, looking at him there, knows he has done well today.
"We always thought he was a really good horse, and he is, but it just goes to show you what a horse Altior is. Without Altior, Min would have won a Supreme and a Champion Chase.
"I have been lucky to ride an awful lot of good horses throughout my career. I love winning big races - the Bowl yesterday, the Aintree Hurdle
, this race today, tomorrow is the Grand National
- and racing like any sport is about the big occasions. When you get used to winning on them, you like to win more, and it has been lean enough the last 18 months because of injury. I get a kick out of it, I love it."
JLT Melling Chase
£250,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m 3f 200y, Class 1
Going: Soft, Good to Soft in places
||Min (FR) 2/1f
|W P Mullins
||Politologue (FR) 5/2
|P F Nicholls
||Waiting Patiently (IRE) 9/4
||B S Hughes
||Hell's Kitchen 14/1
||B J Geraghty
||God's Own (IRE) 25/1
||P J Brennan
|T R George
||Top Notch (FR) 8/1
||D A Jacob
|N J Henderson
||Woodland Opera (IRE)
||R M Power
|Mrs J Harrington
Melling Chase - Previous Winners
2017 Fox Norton
2016 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