Melling Chase

The Melling Chase is a Grade 1 race over two and a half miles on day 2 of the Aintree Grand National meeting in April.

The Melling Chase often features horses that ran well in the Queen Mother Champion Chase or the Ryanair Chase at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.

Famous past winners include Viking Flagship (1995, 1996), Moscow Flyer (2004, 2005), Sprinter Sacre (2013) and subsequent Gold Cup winner Don Cossack (2015).

Find out more about the Melling Chase:

Melling Chase

Race Overview

The Melling Chase, presently known as the Marsh Chase for sponsorship purposes, is a Grade 1 National Hunt steeplechase in Great Britain available to horses aged five and up.

It is run at Aintree over a distance of around 2 miles and 4 furlongs, with sixteen obstacles to jump during the race. Every year in early April, the race will take place.

Famous Melling Chase Winners

The Melling Chase was first run in 1991 with victory going to Blazing Walker, trained by Arthur Stephenson and ridden by Chris Grant. Nicky Henderson’s Remittance Man became the first of many Queen Mother Champion Chase winners to win the Melling Chase in 1992.

Viking Flagship was a very popular chaser and became the first dual winner in 1995 and 1996. He was denied a third consecutive victory when beaten by Martha’s Son the following season. Direct Route (1999 and 2000) and Native Upmanship (2002 and 2003) were other dual winners of this race.

They were followed by Jessica Harrington’s Moscow Flyer in 2004 and 2005, trained by Jessica Harrington and ridden by Barry Geraghty. Voy Por Ustedes became the fifth dual winner in 2008 and 2009 after the popular grey Monet’s Garden added his name to the roll of honour in 2007. Nicky Richards trained Monet’s Garden who was a real Aintree specialist, racking up three victories in the Old Roan Chase between 2007 and 2010.

Master Minded (2011) was yet another Queen Mother Champion Chase winner to prevail in the Melling Chase. Even his performance was eclipsed by Sprinter Sacre in 2013 who defeated Cue Card. Don Cossack won here in 2015 before winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup the following year for Gordon Elliott.

Politologue won for Paul Nicholls in 2018 and would enjoy his finest hour when landing the Queen Mother Champion Chase two years’ later. The high quality of winners has been maintained with Min (2019) trained by Willie Mullins and Fakir D’Oudairies (2021) trained by Joseph O’Brien.

Key Melling Chase Trials

Recent Cheltenham Festival form from either the Queen Mother Champion Chase or the Ryanair Chase is the key for the Melling Chase. The flat nature of the track on the Mildmay course at Aintree makes this race an attractive target for specialist two-mile horses. Seven of the last eleven winners ran in the Queen Mother last time out, two of them winning and one placed.

The Champion Chase is closely followed by the Ryanair Chase which accounts for the remaining four winners during the same period. Only one of them had won the Ryanair with two being placed.

The Melling Chase also provides clues to the Punchestown Festival. Five consecutive Melling winners between 2013 and 2017 went on to win at Punchestown next time. Boston Bob (2014) and Don Cossack (2015) both went on to win the Punchestown Gold Cup while Sprinter Sacre (2013), God’s Own (2016) and Fox Norton (2017) all followed up in the Champion Chase at the same meeting. The winning sequence was ended when Min was defeated in 2019.

Melling Chase Previous Winners

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer
2012 Finian’s Rainbow 9 Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson
2013 Sprinter Sacre 7 Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson
2014 Boston Bob 9 Paul Townend Willie Mullins
2015 Don Cossack 8 Tony McCoy Gordon Elliott
2016 God’s Own 8 Paddy Brennan Tom George
2017 Fox Norton 7 Robbie Power Colin Tizzard
2018 Politologue 7 Sam Twiston-Davies Paul Nicholls
2019 Min 8 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
no race 2020 [a]
2021 Fakir D’oudairies 6 Mark Walsh Joseph O’Brien

Melling Chase Betting Trends

The first three in the Melling Chase betting tend to dominate, winning eight of the last nine renewals. Four of them started favourite with Sprinter Sacre (2013) winning at odds of 1-3. Finian’s Rainbow (2012), Min (2019) and Fakir D’Oudairies also started clear favourite.

Only three winners started outside the top three in the betting between 2008 and 2019. The longest priced winner during that period was Politologue (2018) at 11-1 for Paul Nicholls. Looking further back in time, Hi Cloy started at 14-1 when winning this race in 2006 but shock results are rare.

Horses aged between 7 and 9 have dominated this race since Moscow Flyer won it as an eleven-year-old in 2005. He was the oldest winner since Katabatic was victorious at the same age in 1994. Fakir D’Oudairies was a trend-breaker in 2021 by winning at the age of six, the first of his age group to win in the history of the Melling Chase.

All but one of the last eleven winners had already recorded at least one Grade 1 victory. All eleven had won at least twice over fences and three of them had winning form at Aintree. An official rating of 161 or higher is usually needed to win here. The only horse to win off a lower rating in recent years was Boston Bob (2014) rated 154. The highest rated recent winner was Sprinter Sacre (2013) on 188, then the highest rated steeplechaser in training.

Melling Chase – Top Trainers and Jockeys

The Melling Chase is usually won by a horse trained in one of the top stables in Britain or Ireland. Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls are currently equal on three winners apiece. Henderson’s victories came with Remittance Man (1992), Finian’s Rainbow (2012) and Sprinter Sacre (2013). Nicholls was successful with Fadalko (2001), Master Minded (2011) and Politologue (2018). Willie Mullins won it for the first time in 2014 with Boston Bob and struck again in 2019 with Min.

Barry Geraghty is the leading jockey in the history of the race with four winners; Moscow Flyer (2004, 2005), Finian’s Rainbow (2012) and Sprinter Sacre (2013).

Melling Chase 2022 Odds

The 2022 Melling Chase odds are listed below:

  • Fakir D’oudairies – 11-8
  • Funambule Sivola – 5-1
  • Sceau Royal – 8-1
  • Captain Guinness – 8-1
  • Allmankind – 9-1

Betting on the Melling Chase

The Melling Chase often produces a fascinating clash between horses who ran well in the Champion Chase and the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

With those two races accounting for the last eleven winners, it pays to focus on the form of both events. Aintree suits some horses better than others and there is no guarantee that the Cheltenham form will be upheld.

The race usually attracts a small but select field of top quality chasers and is one of the highlights of the Grand National meeting.

Popular Questions

What distance is the Melling Chase?

The Melling Chase is 2 miles and 4 furlongs long.

When is the Melling Chase run?

The Melling Chase takes place every year in early April.

Summary

To come.

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