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Two and a half miles is the test in front of a Grade 1 field. The intermediate trip is always a fascinating one, with both Champion Chase winners such as Moscow Flyer and Sprinter Sacre winners of this race, as well as Don Cossack who would go on to claim a Cheltenham Gold Cup. See our Melling Chase Tips here!
Balko Des Flos ✅✅✅❌❌✅
Cloudy Dream ✅✅❌❌✅✅
Top Notch ❌✅❌❌✅✅
It’s Politologue who comes out on top of the trends courtesy of his win in the Tingle Creek at Sandown back in December. He was a little below his best when last seen at the Cheltenham Festival but in an odd quirk of this race, a recent win doesn’t always translate into a success at Aintree, especially where this race is concerned. He was in a huge battle with San Benedeto when coming down at this meeting last year, form that he needs to pick up on, returned to this track.
The lack of a Grade 1 triumph this season is the sticking point for Min, though he does bring the strongest Grade 1 form to the table courtesy of his runner-up effort to Altior in the Champion Chase last time out. That race has proven to be the best guide to this contest in recent seasons, with two and a half miles around Aintree a relative speed test compared to many tracks, Cheltenham especially. He is yet to appear at Aintree but his strong travelling nature should be well suited to this course.
Balko Des Flos arrives on the back of his Grade 1 win in the Ryanair Chase at the Festival. That gives him a notable tick in the Grade 1 this season box, with that contest the second best guide to the race after the Champion Chase. His win over this sort of trip was at the main expense of Un De Sceaux who has previous form in the two mile division so Henry De Bromhead’s charge should be well up to giving the best of these a race.
Connections of Cloudy Dream have spent this season stretching his stamina over three miles, dropping him back in time for the Ryanair where he wasn’t disgraced in third. This easier track at two and a half could well play to his strengths more than his Irish conqueror last time out, though he has not always produced as much off the bridle as can sometimes look likely, a concern that has held him back from making the breakthrough into a genuine Grade 1 horse.
Missing Cheltenham is a negative to the chances of Top Notch here as winners of this race generally arrive off the back of a run at the Festival. He was beaten at Aintree last season as a novice chaser and then again over hurdles to kick off this current campaign. There are excuses over the pair of defeats, though he is showing the majority of his best form right handed so perhaps this test won’t be a suitable one for him.
Just days away from the Grand National meeting where we’ll have selections for every single race, our Grand National Tips will be going live on Wednesday morning.