One of the highlights of Ladies Day at the Grand National Festival this Friday is the 2m 4f Grade 1 JLT Melling Chase (15:25).
Politologue won the race last year in really game style; so, off the back of a fine second in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham, is fancied to land back-to-back renewals <b<at 5/2 with 888Sport.
Trained by Paul Nicholls, this eight-year-old grey gelding toughed it out 12 months ago to hold the re-opposing Irish raider Min by a neck up the long Aintree run-in.
It was a marked improvement from when two places behind Willie Mullins’ horse at Cheltenham last year. Politologue stepped up in trip again to land the 1965 Chase at Ascot on reappearance and then tackled 3m for the first time.
While his stamina didn’t last in the King George at Kempton, he wasn’t totally disgraced coming home fourth behind stable companion Clan Des Obeaux.
Politologue also filled the same spot behind course specialist Cyrname, another Nicholls inmate, in the Grade 1 Ascot.
Big performance at Cheltenham
That race simply wasn’t run to suit him with the bold front-runner setting a searing pace which left rivals toiling in-behind.
When dropped back down to 2m, however, Politologue produced a huge performance around the undulations at Cheltenham which haven’t always looked as though they are to his tastes.
He held every chance at the last, but up the famous hill old rival Altior saw his potent turn of foot kick in. While Politologue has never had the beating of that awesome animal, he did still stay on to take second.
Min, in contrast, was a below par fifth and it might just be now that he has the Irish horse’s number. That leaves the Waiting Patiently as the only danger to Politologue.
While Ruth Jefferson’s stable star is respected, because he is lightly-raced and finished three lengths ahead of him at Ascot, he looks opposable given he lacks course experience.
Bet of the Day: 5/2 with 888Sport, Politologue to win the JLT Melling Chase.