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Melodic books place in Champion Hurdle with game Kingwell success

Melodic Rendezvous is 25/1 with Coral for the Champion Hurdle following his game success in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton, a race which has proved a decent Festival trial in recent times.

Although only a Grade 2 contest, it is ideally positioned in the calendar for trainers to give their horses a final prep run before Cheltenham and, since 2002, Hors La Loi III, Katchit and Punjabi all triumphed in it before scoring at Prestbury Park.

Kribensis and Alderbook also took the race in the 1990’s before going on to Champion Hurdle glory, and that suggests that Melodic Rendezvous’ chances in the race this year need to be taken seriously.

The Jeremy Scott-trained eight-year-old revelled in testing conditions at Wincanton and showed a game attitude to get up and beat a useful yardstick in the shape of Zarkandar by 1/2 a length.

Connections will now be hoping for bottomless ground on the opening day of the Festival on March 11th to give him a live outside chance of upsetting those at the head of the market.

Speaking after his win at Wincanton, Scott said: “I’m pleased how he battled back. As long as the ground is OK, he’ll go to Cheltenham.

“I suppose the Aintree Hurdle would be the easier race for him but the owners are very keen to go to Cheltenham and, as long as he’s healthy, I’m sure he will.”

If successful, Melodic Rendezvous will become the fourth eight-year-old to win the race since 2000.

The last of those winners was Hardy Eustace in 2005, who like Melodic Renezvous was a real battler who always gave his all.