• Racing/
  • Melodic Puts Down Champion Marker

StanJames.com Champion Hurdle Trial (Grade 2) 2m

  • (4yo+, 2m, Class 1, 6 runners)
  • Winner £42,712 2nd £16,028 3rd £8,025 4th £3,998 5th £2,010 6th £1,005
  • Going: Heavy
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 3m 57.00s
  • Off time: 14:40:42
  • Last Updated: January 18 2014, 17:11 GMT

Melodic Rendezvous got his season back on track with a game success over Ptit Zig in the stanjames.com Champion Hurdle Trial.

Melodic Rendezvous: Champion Hurdle Trial winner
Melodic Rendezvous: Champion Hurdle Trial winner

Jeremy Scott's stable star was found to have torn a muscle after finishing fifth in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle and he returned to his best by capturing the scalp of the smart Ptit Zig.

Act Of Kalanisi took them along until unshipping Tony McCoy at the fourth-last, leaving Ptit Zig in front.

Daryl Jacob was never totally happy on the even-money favourite and was collared at the final flight by Melodic Rendezvous (7/4), who pulled four and a half lengths clear on the run-in.

Scott said: "We really needed that. We've had a very anxious six weeks and it's lovely he's back to somewhere where we thought we should be.

"We found after Newcastle he had a torn muscle in his quarters after the race.

"It took time and patience and physio and he's back to where he should be now.

"We actually thought he wanted quite good ground, but he's proved he loves soft ground and it's an edge he has over a lot of other horses who perhaps don't cope with it quite as well.

"The Champion Hurdle looks very competitive. Whether we are good enough to trouble the leading contenders I don't know, we'd hoped to find out at Newcastle, but it's an option.

"The plan originally was to have another run in the middle of February but we'll see how he comes out of this and play it day by day."

Scholfield said: "He felt a better horse today than he did at Newcastle, so it's happy days. Jeremy was confident today so I'm glad it came off. If it came up soft (in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham) I'll be a happy man."

Sky Bet went 25/1 from 33s for the blue riband in March and representative Michael Shinners said: "We're still happy to take a few quid on Melodic Rendezvous for the Stan James Champion Hurdle.

"He's a classy horse but seems to be at his best when the mud is flying and conditions are likely to be considerably faster at Cheltenham.

"We're happy to offer 25/1 for him in what is shaping up to be an ultra-competitive Champion Hurdle."

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