Tote Win: £0.00 Tote Place: ££2.60,£1.80
Straight Forecast: £0.00 Exacta: £0.00 Trifecta: £0.00 Swingers: 1&2:£1.10 2&3:£4.20 1&3:£8.70
Placepot: £56.70, Pool: £108363.92, 1393.95 winning tickets
Quadpot: £26.70, Pool: £7011.14, 194.12 winning tickets
A hugely encouraging return to action from MELODIC RENDEZVOUS who had been second favourite for the Supreme Novices' prior to being ruled out by an infection. A scopey individual who has the size to jump a fence if connections decide he's not going to make the grade over hurdles but he'll surely be given the chance to prove that he can cut the mustard with the elite two mile hurdlers following this performance. He travelled strongly, jumped well and showed a good attitude to make it five wins from just seven starts under Rules. Unfortunately for connections, this does appear to be a particularly strong division at present and Far West, to whom he was conceding 4lbs, finished fully 15 lengths behind Our Conor in the Triumph Hurdle. It's conceivable that Paul Nicholls' charge wasn't at his best that day and has improved since but it is a measure of the progress that Melodic Rendezvous needs to make in order to become a live contender for championship honours. There was plenty of confidence behind Far West suggesting that he was quite far forward but he is just four and this has to rate a very pleasing return; the handicapper can't overreact to this performance while, more immediately, it will be interesting to see if he takes his chance in the Greatwood Hurdle a week on Sunday as there are sure to be races to be one with him from around his current mark. Ahyaknowyerself had shot up the weights for winning a Listed handicap at Market Rasen in September and could well go up by another couple of pounds for this performance making it increasingly likely that the assessor will get his man sooner rather than later. Cotton Mill had gone close in the Betfair Hurdle on his reappearance last February and his strength in the market suggested that a big run was expected on his seasonal bow. However, he never jumped with any fluency and never looked like getting involved in the finish although he wasn't beaten all that far at the line. It's possible that this test didn't suit but his big run in the 2012 Neptune (going well when departing two out) is in danger of becoming a distant memory. Karinga Dancer has been in fine fettle but the morning rainfall was against him and he can be given another chance to prove himself from his revised mark following his impressive Aintree success.