Melodic Rendezvous ran out an impressive winner of today’s Grade One Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown. It was wonderful to see the Jeremy Scott team land top honours; they are genuine people who deserve every success that comes their way. Their exciting prospect first came to my attention when chasing home Champion Bumper winner Champagne Fever in a Grade One Bumper at the Punchestown Festival, in ground that can be best described as ‘pond like’. The Champagne Fever form gets franked time and time again. His outing at Naas tomorrow looks a formality.
At Cheltenham’s December meeting Melodic Rendezvous won a tactical Novice Hurdle, in what was again desperate ground. The manner of that victory combined with his smart bumper form, had me thinking that Mr Scott had a serious horse on his hands. Today’s race cemented that thought. The road to Cheltenham is well and truly illuminated. I understand that the seven year old will have entries in both the Supreme and The Neptune, with connections leaning towards the Supreme. Everything about him screams Neptune to me. However, it is likely that the going on the opening day of The Festival will be softer than normal thus blunting the speed that the Supreme is run at and putting a little more emphasis on stamina. Also, two miles at Cheltenham is more of a test than the minimum trip would be at say Aintree or Newbury. Congratulations to all involved, your late developer looks set to bring your patience sweet rewards!
Staying with the Tolworth; Court Minstrel continues to be written in capitals in my notebook. After his unlucky passage behind Dodging Bullets and River Maigue at Cheltenham, Evan Williams was spitting feathers. He felt that if the race was run again his horse would have won. Finishing in fourth in todays race, the ground found him out. He travelled like a dream up the outside towards two out before emptying. Court Minstrel has a very big race in him. He is also far too big a price for the Supreme and Neptune (40’s and 25’s respectively) considering he has won at the Cheltenhams Showcase Meeting and should have won at the Open Meeting. Keep your eye on him, he’s going places.