Sunday, 20 August 2017

Willie Mullins expecting big season ahead from Supreme runner-up Melon

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Willie Mullins has revealed he's been impressed by Melon, who was narrowly beaten on only his second start over hurdles at this year's Cheltenham Festival.

The five-year-old was well fancied to win the Supreme despite only experiencing hurdles once in his career, when a ten length winner at Leopardstown.

With top rider Ruby Walsh on board he only found quirky 50-1 shot Labaik too good, to lose out by two lengths to Gordon Elliott's hurdler.

He finished off the year second best once again, finishing a length off stable rival Cilaos Emery in Punchestown's Champion Novice Hurdle.

"Melon has come back very strong," said Mullins.

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Melon would've been the least experienced winner of the Supreme in 25 years, but 50-1 shot Labaik defeated him.

"He's in good form and, while he could go the novice chase route, we'd probably be angling towards a hurdling campaign.

"He was very inexperienced going to Cheltenham last year."

Melon is currently priced as high as 25-1 for next year's Champion Hurdle, which could see him clash with the likes of Triumph winner Defi Du Seuil, and former winners Faugheen and Buveur D'Air.

But should Mullins opt to follow the novice chasing route, his former French flat winner is a 16-1 shot for the Arkle.

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