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Melling Chase odds: Jonbon favourite to shine at Aintree

This is the 33rd running of the Melling Chase at Aintree and seven horses are set to take on the two-and-a-half mile test in a bid to join the illustrious list of former winners.

Great horses such as Remittance Man, Katabatic and Viking Flagship won the race in the 1990s, while Native Upmanship, Moscow Flyer and Voy Por Ustedes starred in the event over the next decade.

More recent winners include Master Minded, Sprinter Sacre and Fakir D'oudairies, while Pic D'Orhy won last year's Melling Chase for jockey Harry Cobden and trainer Paul Nicholls.

Nicholls is hoping for a fifth win in the race as Pic D'Orhy defends his crown this year but Nicky Henderson has the favourite for the 2024 Melling Chase in Jonbon.

Melling Chase Odds

(Odds will display when markets are available)

Jonbon

Leading two-mile chaser Jonbon steps up in trip to take on an extra four furlongs in the Melling Chase after missing out on his target at the Cheltenham Festival.

Jonbon was among the leading contenders for the Grade 1 Queen Mother Champion Chase but was pulled out by trainer Nicky Henderson due to the poor form of the yard at the time.

The eight-year-old gelding has won two of his three starts this season in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham and the Grade 1 Tingle Creek at Sandown, but suffered a shock defeat against Elixir De Nutz in the Clarence House Chase, making a number of jumping errors.

Henderson told the Racing Post that he expects Jonbon to relish the extra distance, saying:

"I've been dying to step him up in trip and I'd be surprised if he doesn't get three miles one day."

Protektorat

The nine-year-old Protektorat represents the burgeoning stable of Dan Skelton and arrives after triumphing in the Ryanair Chase over this distance at Cheltenham.

The Saint Des Saintes gelding was winning for the first time this season in his fifth outing but travelled strongly before triumphing by four lengths going away from runner-up Envoi Allen with Conflated back in third. Both of those rivals are set to line up for another crack at Protektorat on Friday.

Protektorat has won on two of his three trips to Aintree, taking the novice chase at this meeting in 2021 and winning the Many Clouds Chase over 3m1f in December of that year, beating Native River by 25 lengths on soft ground.

His only defeat at the track came when he finished fourth at this meeting last year over that longer distance, when Conflated was ahead of him in second place.

The drop back to this distance worked a treat at Cheltenham and he is a contender to give his trainer a first win in this race.

Pic D'Orhy

Pic D'Orhy is the defending champion in this race after thwarting Fakir D'oudairies in his bid for a Melling Chase hat-trick last year. 

The Paul Nicholls-trained nine-year-old was a 4/1 shot last year but is slightly shorter this time despite being only third-favourite.

The gelding has won two of his three races this season, with both successes coming at Ascot, including an impressive win in the Grade 1 Ascot Chase over 2m5f in February, beating L'Homme Presse by five-and-a-half lengths on good-to-soft ground.

His trainer has also won the race with Fadalko, Master Minded and Politologue and has a strong contender again this year.

Envoi Allen

Envoi Allen is the leading Irish challenger in the Melling Chase betting at 11/2 but Henry De Bromhead's hopeful has yet to win in three races this season.

He has some strong placed form, however, and the 2019 Champion Bumper winner, who also won the 2023 Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham, remains a classy operator.

Envoi Allen was beaten only a neck by Gerri Colombe in a Grade 1 three-mile race at Down Royal in November before chasing home Protektorat at Cheltenham last month.

Conflated

Conflated had been allocated top weight for the Grand National but trainer Gordon Elliott pulled him out of that race to tackle the Mildmay Course in this event instead.

The 10-year-old was third in the Gold Cup in 2023 and was disputing second when falling in the Ryanair Chase two years ago.

Having unseated his rider in his previous two starts, including the Irish Gold Cup, Conflated jumped well enough at Cheltenham once he had warmed up but could not land a blow on the leading pair in the Ryanair Chase.

He was a close second to Clan Des Obeaux at this meeting in 2022 but ran flat at Aintree 12 months ago.

Easy Game

Easy Game represents the leading Irish stable of Willie Mullins and will have his each-way supporters despite his double-figure odds.

The 10-year-old has been campaigned in some top-class races in Ireland but this is his first race in Britain since he fell at the Cheltenham Festival in 2020.

He has not been in action since September when he beat the talented Gentlemansgame over this distance on heavy ground, making all the running under Paul Townend.

Minella Drama

Minella Drama lines up for the local stable of Donald McCain but is rated 20 pounds below Jonbon by the official handicapper. 

The nine-year-old was third in this race last season, though, and was runner-up at Kelso over almost three miles on his last outing just over a month ago.

This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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