There is plenty for racing fans to look forward to across the three days of the Grand National meeting with a plethora of top quality action in store. The pick of day two in terms of class is the Melling Chase. Here we take a look at the best odds and offers surrounding this high quality event, and provide our betting tips for the race.
Held over a trip of 2m4f, this Grade 1 Chase was first run at Aintree in 1961. Open to runners aged five and older, this race has been won by a number of real stars over the years and now offers £200,000 in total prize money.
Melling Chase 2019 Tips and Race Preview
The Melling Chase is one of the main attractions on the card of the second day of the Grand National Festival. The Grade 1 contest has become a highly regarded prize since being introduced in 1991 thanks to high class horses such as Sprinter Sacre, Moscow Flyer and Voy Por Ustedes who have all won the Melling Chase (the latter pair twice).
We may not have any options of quite that class in the seven strong field for the 2019 renewal but it is shaping up to be a cracking renewal.
Politologue Looking Good for Melling Defence
The absence of Cyrname is a blow to the Melling Chase but racing fans do at least have a clash between Paul Nicholls’ star and Altior in the upcoming Celebration Chase to look forward to. Nicholls himself has nothing to worry about given that he trains the favourite, Politologue.
Politologue certainly looks to be a worthy favourite, afterall he won the Melling Chase last year when sent off at 11/1. The nature of his performance in reversing the form against Min from the Champion Hurdle showed beyond any doubt that he loves it at Aintree.
Nicholls’ eight-year-old was always going to be well supported on his return to Aintree but his price of 9/4 reflects more than that. It reflects the quality of his performance last time out in the Champion Hurdle where he pushed Altior very hard and beat Min by a fair distance.
Min should be more of a challenge as he won’t go off anywhere near as hard over the 2 mile 4 furlong trip of the Melling Chase so should have more to give in the closing stages. Still, Politologue is the most likely winner and a favourite worthy of support at 9/4 with bet365.
Top Notch Worth Chancing on His Chasing Return
Top Notch has already competed over 2 miles 4 furlongs at Aintree. He made a couple of mistakes in the 2017 Manifesto Novices’ Chase but was still able to finish third. The ground that day didn’t quite suit him that day and connections will hope for some rain to fall in the days leading up to Friday to give him a better chance.
If the ground is a cause for concern for Top Notch backers, so is his recent form. The eight-year-old was nowhere near his best in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival but his backers are quietly confident that a return to chasing and the drop back to 2½ miles will help bring about significant improvement.
Top Notch did run well in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot but it was in a 2 mile 4½ furlong chase at Kempton (on good ground incidentally) in which he secured his only win of the last 12 months. Beating the quality chasers he will face at Aintree may prove to be too big an ask for Top Notch but this looks an unpredictable race so an each way bet is tempting at 10/1 with 888Sport.
Melling Chase Previous Winners
- 2018 – Politologue – jockey Sam Twiston-Davies, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2017 – Fox Norton – jockey Robbie Power, trainer Colin Tizzard
- 2016 – God’s Own – jockey Paddy Brennan, trainer Tom George
- 2015 – Don Cossack – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer Gordon Elliott
- 2014 – Boston Bob – jockey Paul Townend, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2013 – Sprinter Sacre – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Nicky Henderson
- 2012 – Finian’s Rainbow – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Nicky Henderson
- 2011 – Master Minded – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2010 – Albertas Run – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer Jonjo O’Neill
- 2009 – Voy Por Ustedes – jockey Robert Thorton, trainer Alan King
- 2008 – Voy Por Ustedes – jockey Robert Thornton, trainer Alan King
- 2007 – Monet’s Garden – jockey Tony Dobbin, trainer Nicky Richards
Melling Chase History
Anyone who has watched the world’s most famous steeple chase will no doubt have heard the refrain, “as they cross the Melling Road…”. Melling is the name of a nearby village on Merseyside which has – not just that famous racecourse dissecting road named in its honour – but also this excellent chase contest.
Established in 1991, this event has been a Grade 1 affair right from the off and has assembled a list of previous winners that more than lives up to its top-class status. Nicky Henderson’s brilliant Arkle and Queen Mother Champion Chase hero, Remittance Man took the second edition in 1992, setting an early benchmark as to the quality of animal it has often taken to prevail. Nine Champion Chasers have taken this in total, including Master Minded, Moscow Flyer, Viking Flagship, and the incomparable Sprinter Sacre.
Held over 2m4f the event often sees a clash between combatants who have previously contested either the Queen Mother or Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. The hugely popular Alberta’s run followed up his 2010 Ryanair success with a win here before going on to land the Ryanair again in 2011.
This race may have only been going since 1991, but we have already had no fewer than five dual winners. In chronological order they are; Viking Flagship (1995, 1996), Direct Route (199, 2000), Native Upmanship (2002, 2003), Moscow Flyer (2004, 2005) and Voy Por Ustedes (2008, 2009). No horse has yet won the race three times. Native Upmanship and Viking Flagship came closest, each finishing third in the year following the second of their wins.
It is the duo of Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty – who so often teamed up to such thrilling effect with Sprinter Sacre – who lead the respective trainer and jockey tables for this race. Henderson’s hat trick of victories with Remittance Man, Finian’s Rainbow and Sprinter Sacre is yet to be matched. For Geraghty the magic number is four. In addition to his success aboard Sprinter Sacre, Geraghty also won on Finian’s Rainbow for Henderson in 2012, as well as triumphing in back to back editions when partnering Moscow Flyer in 2004 and 2005.