LAST SEASON’S a lot talked about hurdler Melon makes his seasonal reappearance within the WKD Hurdle at Down Royal on Friday.
An awesome deal was anticipated of the Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old chestnut even earlier than his debut on the observe and, after successful stylishly on his Irish debut at Leopardstown, he was joint-favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on the Cheltenham Pageant in March.
Whereas Melon got here up brief in that race, he ran with loads of credit score to complete second behind Labaik earlier than discovering solely stablemate Cilaos Emery too good at Punchestown the next month.
Mullins’ son, beginner jockey and assistant coach Patrick, feels Melon will face a good examination on his seasonal debut.
Mullins stated: “Melon appears in good kind and a second-season novice race like this can be a good start line for him.
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“It will be a fair examination for him as Coquin Mans has a high rating and is as fit as a flea.
“Melon has only had the three runs over hurdles, so he’s entitled to improve, but I’m sure he’ll improve for the run, too.
“He’s running pretty early in the season for one of ours and we’ll know a lot more about him after the race.”
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Of Coquin Mans, he added: “He’s a very talented horse and has only beaten once, and that was by a Champion Hurdle winner in Jezki.
“He won’t be a pushover and I think it will be a race.”
Gordon Elliott’s Mick Jazz and the Karl Thornton-trained Wakea look the two most likely to upset the Mullins party.
Jessica Harrington’s mare Forge Meadow and Willie Codd’s outsider Tellthemnuttin complete the Grade Two field.