3.25pm – JLT Melling Chase Grade 1 Cl1 2m 4f shown on ITV
The Melling Chase was inaugurated in 1991 and is run over 2 miles 4 furlongs with 16 fences being jumped during the course of the race. The race is named after the village of Melling which is close to the course. Horses which ran in the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Ryanair Chase at The Cheltenham Festival often run in the Melling Chase.
In the history of the race five horses have won the event twice, with all five winning back to back, Viking Flagship 1995–96, Direct Route 1999–2000, Native Upmanship 2002–03, Moscow Flyer 2004–05 and Voy Por Ustedes 2008–09.
- A run within the last 30 days is the key statistic in the race as all of the last 15 winners fulfil this criteria, with 25 of the last 27 winners running at The Cheltenham Festival earlier in March.
- When considering Cheltenham form look for runners in the Queen Mother Champion Chase as 9 of the last 15 winners ran in the race and the Ryanair Chase with 6 of the last 15 coming out of that race.
- The betting is a good guide to the race with 14 of the last 15 winners returning at odds of 8/1 or shorter in the betting. Favourites have a decent record with 7 of the last 15 winners being sent off as favourite for the race.
- Last time out winners do not have a great record as only four have won any of the last 15 renewals. However, all of the last 15 winners finished in the first three on their last run.
- Winning form over the race distance is also a good pointer with 20 of the last 27 winners having winning form over the distance.
- Previous form at the Grand National meeting is also a pointer with 19 of the last 27 winners having been at least placed a meeting previously.
- Previous Grade 1 winning form is always a useful pointer and in the case of the Melling Chase 11 of the last 14 winners had won a Grade 1 chase earlier that season.
- Finally, check the age of the horse you are interested in. Since 1999, 16 of the 19 winners have been aged between 7 and 9 years old.
Based on the statistics the most likely winner is Balko Des Flos. The seven year old chestnut gelding has won over the distance and has plenty of form in soft ground.. He won the Ryanair Chase in good style at Cheltenham by 4½ lengths and could prove hard to beat.
Please note: tips are followed at your own risk. Please gamble responsibly.
Tony Ward is a keen follower of horseracing and provides readers of EclipseMagazine.co.uk with betting tips and explanations of that complicated pastime. Please note, Tony’s tips are his opinion only and you follow them at your own risk.