Melling Chase 2018: Timeform's runner-by-runner guide
Timeform bring you their runner-by-runner guide to Friday's Melling Chase, highlight of day two of the Grand National meeting at Aintree...
"Unexposed at this trip (won only start) and holds obvious form claims..."
Timeform on Min
1. BALKO DES FLOS (Henry de Bromhead/Davy Russell)
Produced career best to that point when second to Road To Respect in Christmas Chase at Leopardstown in December, and confirmed that form down in trip with dominant win in Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham (by four and a half lengths from Un de Sceaux) last time. Clearly on the upgrade and cannot be discounted.
2. CLOUDY DREAM (Ruth Jefferson/Brian Hughes)
Placed in all five starts this season, including when respectable 12 and a half lengths third to Balko des Flos in Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham last time. Should do better given a sounder surface here, but even best form leaves him with plenty to find.
3. LE PREZIEN (Paul Nicholls/Barry Geraghty)
Resumed winning ways after three months off in 2m Grand Annual (Handicap) at Cheltenham (by four and a half lengths from Gino Trail) last time, forging clear close home. Worth another try in graded company on that evidence, but bit to find with the principals on form.
4. MIN (Willie Mullins/Paul Townend)
Produced top-class effort when winning Dublin Chase at Leopardstown (by 12 lengths from Simply Ned) in February, and confirmed that form with good seven lengths second to Altior in Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham last time, settling better than has often been the case. Unexposed at this trip (won only start) and holds obvious form claims.
5. POLITOLOGUE (Paul Nicholls/Sam Twiston-Davies)
Completed hat-trick in Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter, Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown and Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton in late-2017. Found Altior too strong in two subsequent starts, but shaped as if still in good form when 23 lengths fourth in Champion Chase at Cheltenham last time, and entitled to be thereabouts once again with proven form at this trip.
6. SIZING GRANITE (Colin Tizzard/Robbie Power)
Bounced back to form to win a handicap over hurdles at Newbury last month (had reportedly had a wind operation), taking advantage of a lower mark in that sphere. He won a competitive handicap chase at the Punchestown Festival last season, but even if returning to that sort of form back over fences, it would still leave him something to find with the principals.
Timeform Melling Chase 1-2-3
2. Balko des Flos
Timeform Melling Chase Analyst's Verdict
MIN produced a performance that would have been good enough to win most recent renewals when second in the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last month and, with the winner Altior an absentee here, he rates the clear one to beat. Ryanair winner Balko des Flos is the obvious threat.