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15:30 Aintree

Soft

My Pension Expert Melling Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race)

  • Prize money: £140325
  • 2m 3f 200y
  • Class 1
  • 7 runners
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My Pension Expert Melling Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race)

Runners: 7 runners

Type: Chase Turf

Surface: Turf

Weather: Cloudy

Form: -53UU3 D

Last run: 29 days

W: 11st 10lb

10 yo Gelding

OR: 166

Form & Verdict

Versatile ground-wise; dual Grade 1 winner at 3m in 2022; ran respectably when third behind Protektorat and Envoi Allen in the Ryanair dropped back to 2m4f most recently; however, his chance of reversing those placings appears to depend on how well he responds to first-time cheekpieces.

Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

6th

3

1st May 2024

Good To Yielding

3m 0f 213y

17:25 Punchestown

Conflated

11st 10lb

J: Jack Kennedy

T: Gordon Elliott

jumped left, prominent, led before 2nd

11/1

1

12th Apr 2024

Soft

2m 3f 200y

Class 1

15:30 Aintree

Conflated

11st 10lb

J: Jack Kennedy

T: Gordon Elliott

Versatile ground-wise; dual Grade 1 winner at 3m in 2022; ran respectably when third behind Protektorat and Envoi Allen in the Ryanair dropped back to 2m4f most recently; however, his chance of reversing those placings appears to depend on how well he responds to first-time cheekpieces.

9/1

3rd

4

14th Mar 2024

Soft

2m 4f 127y

Class 1

14:50 Cheltenham

Conflated

11st 10lb

J: Jack Kennedy

T: Gordon Elliott

Versatile ground-wise; looked beaten when unseating rider at final fence in 3m Grade 1 races won by Galopin Des Champs the last twice; disputing second place when falling two out in this contest in 2022; dual winner at the top level and third in last year's Cheltenham Gold Cup; ties in closely with Envoi Allen on Down Royal form in November; very good chaser on his day, therefore, and has place possibilities granted a clear round.

13/2

Form: 11-101 D

Last run: 195 days

W: 11st 10lb

10 yo Gelding

OR: 161

Form & Verdict

Acts on any going; absent since bagging Grade 2 honours at Gowran Park (2m4f) last September; has a respectable strike-rate, including when fresh, but his Grade 1 record is far from convincing on the whole; something to prove back at the top level.

Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

4th

1

27th Apr 2024

Good

2m 6f 164y

Class 1

14:25 Sandown

Easy Game

11st 8lb

J: Paul Townend

T: W P Mullins

Has a fine strike-rate (14-28) over fences and goes very well (8-12) on good ground; back on song when winning six-runner 2m4f Grade 2 at Gowran last September, but was then off until pulling up in the Melling at Aintree two weeks ago; something to prove after that but he's a big player on his best form and conditions should be ideal; wears headgear for the first time.

4/1

2

12th Apr 2024

Soft

2m 3f 200y

Class 1

15:30 Aintree

Easy Game

11st 10lb

J: Paul Townend

T: W P Mullins

Acts on any going; absent since bagging Grade 2 honours at Gowran Park (2m4f) last September; has a respectable strike-rate, including when fresh, but his Grade 1 record is far from convincing on the whole; something to prove back at the top level.

14/1

1st

2

30th Sep 2023

Soft To Heavy

2m 4f 0y

16:35 Gowran Park

Easy Game

11st 8lb

J: Paul Townend

T: W P Mullins

Has won half of his 26 starts over fences and excels in small-field contests like this one in which he has twice been successful; only defeats in last ten starts have been in successive renewals of the Galway Plate and at the weights he has every chance against Envoi Allen but doubt it will pan out that way if the latter is on song.

3/1

OUR TIP

Form: 14-322 D BF

Last run: 29 days

W: 11st 10lb

10 yo Gelding

OR: 164

Form & Verdict

Acts on any ground; ran creditably, albeit beaten 4l by Protektorat, at Cheltenham four weeks ago when bidding for a second success in the Ryanair; retains all of his ability aged ten but it's 19 years since a veteran last landed this prize; first visit to Aintree.

Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

3

12th Apr 2024

Soft

2m 3f 200y

Class 1

15:30 Aintree

Envoi Allen

11st 10lb

J: Rachael Blackmore

T: Henry De Bromhead

Acts on any ground; ran creditably, albeit beaten 4l by Protektorat, at Cheltenham four weeks ago when bidding for a second success in the Ryanair; retains all of his ability aged ten but it's 19 years since a veteran last landed this prize; first visit to Aintree.

11/2

2nd

5

14th Mar 2024

Soft

2m 4f 127y

Class 1

14:50 Cheltenham

Envoi Allen

11st 10lb

J: Rachael Blackmore

T: Henry De Bromhead

Acts on any going; absent since his close second in Grade 1 thriller at Down Royal (3m) four months ago; similarly fresh when he won this race last year, taking Cheltenham Festival record to 3-5, and he holds very solid claims back here despite his age now reaching double figures; veterans have endured a barren spell in the Ryanair for over a decade but 10yos landed this prize in 2006, 2008 and 2011.

3/1

Form: 11-112 C BF

Last run: 76 days

W: 11st 10lb

8 yo Gelding

OR: 170

Form & Verdict

Acts on any going; powerful force in the 2m division and has won Grade 1 contests (hurdle/chase) at this meeting for the last two years; badly let down by his jumping at Cheltenham last time out, then missed the Champion Chase (one of several non-runners during a nightmare week for Nicky Henderson); hardly comes here on a high, therefore, but holds the best chance provided he's in top form; the new trip is worth exploring judged on pedigree.

Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

1st

6

27th Apr 2024

Good

1m 7f 99y

Class 1

15:00 Sandown

Jonbon

11st 10lb

J: Nico de Boinville

T: Nicky Henderson

Won this last year (good to soft) and made it 3-3 here when landing Grade 1 Tingle Creek in December (heavy); bounced back from Clarence House defeat to win Grade 1 Melling Chase at Aintree (2m4f, soft) a fortnight ago; won sole start on good ground; put in his place by El Fabiolo on their only previous clash over fences (last year's Arkle) but entitled to respect nevertheless.

9/4

4

12th Apr 2024

Soft

2m 3f 200y

Class 1

15:30 Aintree

Jonbon

11st 10lb

J: Nico de Boinville

T: Nicky Henderson

Acts on any going; powerful force in the 2m division and has won Grade 1 contests (hurdle/chase) at this meeting for the last two years; badly let down by his jumping at Cheltenham last time out, then missed the Champion Chase (one of several non-runners during a nightmare week for Nicky Henderson); hardly comes here on a high, therefore, but holds the best chance provided he's in top form; the new trip is worth exploring judged on pedigree.

2/1

Form: 3-2372 D

Last run: 41 days

W: 11st 10lb

9 yo Gelding

OR: 150

Form & Verdict

Creditable third in this race 12 months ago but isn't sure to repeat the effort in this stronger renewal; possibly flattered when second in the Old Roan here on reappearance (numerous fences were omitted) and not in the same form since; bottom on ratings.

Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

5

12th Apr 2024

Soft

2m 3f 200y

Class 1

15:30 Aintree

Minella Drama

11st 10lb

J: Brian Hughes

T: Donald McCain

Creditable third in this race 12 months ago but isn't sure to repeat the effort in this stronger renewal; possibly flattered when second in the Old Roan here on reappearance (numerous fences were omitted) and not in the same form since; bottom on ratings.

50/1

2nd

5

2nd Mar 2024

Good To Soft

2m 7f 96y

Class 1

15:25 Kelso

Minella Drama

11st 2lb

J: Brian Hughes

T: Donald McCain

took keen hold, prominent, led before 6th

9/1

7th

1

26th Dec 2023

Soft

2m 4f 0y

Class 2

13:40 Aintree

Minella Drama

12st 0lb

J: Brian Hughes

T: Donald McCain

led, not fluent 3rd

11/4

Form: 21-121 CD

Last run: 55 days

W: 11st 10lb

9 yo Gelding

OR: 162

Form & Verdict

Rock-solid chaser at about 2m4f and has form figures of 11121121 since the start of last season, most recently making all in the Grade 1 Ascot Chase (good to soft; unchallenged); ran on strongly to land this contest (on soft ground) last year, depriving Fakir D'oudairies of a third straight Melling success, and commands respect back here.

Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

6

12th Apr 2024

Soft

2m 3f 200y

Class 1

15:30 Aintree

Pic DOrhy

11st 10lb

J: Harry Cobden

T: Paul Nicholls

Rock-solid chaser at about 2m4f and has form figures of 11121121 since the start of last season, most recently making all in the Grade 1 Ascot Chase (good to soft; unchallenged); ran on strongly to land this contest (on soft ground) last year, depriving Fakir D'oudairies of a third straight Melling success, and commands respect back here.

7/2

1st

3

17th Feb 2024

Good To Soft

2m 5f 8y

Class 1

15:36 Ascot

Pic DOrhy

11st 10lb

J: Harry Cobden

T: Paul Nicholls

Reliable over fences; runner-up to Shishkin in this race (good to soft) 12 months ago and was left with little to beat when the same horse refused to race here in November; at least as good as ever when second to the classy Banbridge in another Grade 2 at Kempton five weeks ago; solid candidate.

15/8

2nd

3

13th Jan 2024

Good To Soft

2m 4f 110y

Class 1

14:07 Kempton

Pic DOrhy

11st 8lb

J: Harry Cobden

T: Paul Nicholls

Straightforward task in similar event at Ascot (2m5f, good) seven weeks ago, having been left with little to beat when Shishkin refused to race; may need to work harder in this field but still commands major respect, being 2-2 at Kempton including a success in this race 12 months ago (soft); 8-16 overall as a chaser and has won five of his last six appearances.

11/4

Form: -43231 CD

Last run: 29 days

W: 11st 10lb

9 yo Gelding

OR: 167

Form & Verdict

Registered a Grade 1 win over 2m4f at this meeting three years ago; campaigned mostly at further since but proved well suited by the drop back to this distance in the Ryanair at Cheltenham (soft) four weeks ago, staying on strongly to beat Envoi Allen by 4l going away; unexposed at this trip in open company and holds major claims.

Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

7

12th Apr 2024

Soft

2m 3f 200y

Class 1

15:30 Aintree

Protektorat

11st 10lb

J: Harry Skelton

T: Dan Skelton

Registered a Grade 1 win over 2m4f at this meeting three years ago; campaigned mostly at further since but proved well suited by the drop back to this distance in the Ryanair at Cheltenham (soft) four weeks ago, staying on strongly to beat Envoi Allen by 4l going away; unexposed at this trip in open company and holds major claims.

11/4

1st

10

14th Mar 2024

Soft

2m 4f 127y

Class 1

14:50 Cheltenham

Protektorat

11st 10lb

J: Harry Skelton

T: Dan Skelton

Can front-run; flopped when bidding for a second success in the Betfair Chase (3m1f); back in better form (over 2m6f-3m2f) since, most recently third in Newbury Grade 2 (half a length behind Hitman on worse terms); ran respectably in the Cheltenham Gold Cup for the last two years; has the class to play a major role, provided he copes with this drop back in trip; has not raced over 2m4f since 2021.

8/1

3rd

1

10th Feb 2024

Soft

2m 7f 86y

Class 1

14:05 Newbury

Protektorat

11st 8lb

J: Harry Skelton

T: Dan Skelton

took keen hold, led, faced challenge after 4 out, headed 3 out, soon lost second, no chance with winner but rallied from last

9/4

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Selections

RP RATINGS:

Jonbon

Telegraph:

Protektorat

LAMBOURN:

Jonbon

D Express:

Jonbon

The Sun:

Jonbon

The Guardian:

Protektorat

Daily Mirror:

Protektorat

Daily Record:

Protektorat