Module makes Melling appeal
Module, a fast finishing third behind Sire De Grugy in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, looks the form pick in the Betfred Melling Chase at Aintree on Friday.
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The decision to run in the two-miler that day, when the seven-year-old had been finishing well over further in last year's Ryanair Chase, always looked a bit dubious and this course and distance should suit much better.
Module's form this season reads well; but for a slow jump at the final fence, he would probably have beaten Somersby in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter in early November before finishing fourth to Riverside Theatre in a hot-looking renewal of the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon and then beating Dodging Bullets in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury.
At Cheltenham, Tom George's stable star looked flat to the boards three fences from home but put in plenty of good late work to miss second by only a neck with Wishfull Thinking seven lengths away in fifth. The extra ground here looks sure to suit him.
By far the most interesting of Module's rivals is Ballynagour who was one of the most impressive winners at Cheltenham when taking out the Byrne Group Plate by an effortless eight lengths.
Raised 15lb for that success and now taking on proven graded rivals, this is the acid test for a horse who his trainer David Pipe admits has two ways of running. But, if the same Ballynagour turns up here, then he looks sure to be a threat.
The other leading contender is probably Rajdhani Express, a solid third behind Dynaste (Boston Bob sixth, Rathlin seventh)in the Ryanair Chase.
That looked a career-best effort by the Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old who thrived last spring when following up a Festival win with victory at Ayr in April.
In the Crabbie's Topham Trophy, it might be worth taking a chance with the mercurial CEDRE BLEU taking to the big fences.
The Paul Nicholls-trained gelding doesn't always find much off the bridle but usually travels well and that can be important at Aintree. The Grand National fences can often bring out the best in a quirky horse.
Freshened up since his last run in dire conditions at Cheltenham in January, Cedre Bleu ran two excellent races previously when second to Houblon des Obeaux at Ascot and second again behind Double Ross (now 11lb worse off) at Cheltenham on New Year's Day.
If he jumps round cleanly and has a chance at the last, we will then have to rely on jockey Nick Schofield producing him with precise timing.
Despite being up in the handicap, Double Ross continues in grand heart and his third to Taquin de Seuil at the Festival last time was another solid effort while Ma Filleule also ran a super race there finishing second to Holywell in a hugely compeititive three miler.
Past Aintree form is always significant in this race so Rebel Rebellion, a stable-mate of Cedre Bleu, must enter calculations considering his Grand Sefton Chase win over the course and distance in early December.
Module 3.05 Aintree 2pts win
Cedre Bleu 3.40 Aintree 1pt each- way