Scott to make Melodic Rendezvous decision
Melodic Rendezvous enthralled a huge crowd at Exeter yesterday with a scintillating display in the Bathwick Tyres Plymouth Novices' Hurdle, and is as short as 7-1 with some bookies for the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Whether he takes that option or runs in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle will depend which races the other leading novices run in.
His trainer, Jeremy Scott, said: "We will make our decision once we know what one or two of the principles go for. We'd be happy to go for the Supreme but we'll see what the main contenders do."
Puffin Billy had started the race a warm favourite and, turning out of the back straight, the pair drew away from the rest of the field.
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But three flights from home Puffin Billy looked like he was in trouble and came under pressure from Leighton Aspell, while Melodic Rendezvous was cruising and went on to win very easily.
Scott said: "We knew we would have the speed to beat Puffin Billy but in the end we outstayed him. I did think it would be much more of a fight than that."
It was later revealed Puffin Billy's below-par performance was due to lameness but, even so, Melodic Rendezvous could not have been any more impressive on the heavy ground.
His enthusiast quartet of owners, who go under the syndicate name of Cash For Honours, had prepared themselves well for the occasion with scarves, ties and cufflinks depicting their dark and light blue colours. Twins Paul and Peter Govier, from Bampton, Steven Loosemore, from North Molton, Minehead-based Mark Swallow and Chris Hayes, from Bishops Nympton, bought the gelding in April 2011, and after his second in the champion bumper at the Punchestown Festival last April they knew they had something special on their hands.
"That's when our dream of having a runner at the Festival became a reality and we knew following that performance that we had a potential superstar," said Loosemoore.
Oliver Sherwood had been out of luck with Puffin Billy but he bagged a double of winners with Many Clouds, running in the colours of Trevor Hemmings, winning the Bathwick Tyres National Hunt Novices' Hurdle from favourite Just A Par, and Rouge Et Blanc being the resounding winner of the Bathwick Tyres Handicap Chase.
The trainer said Many Clouds was unlikely to go to the Festival, with races at Aintree and Ayr the target.
The Kim Bailey-trained Harry Topper was another impressive performer when he took the Bathwick Tyres Taunton Graduation Chase, confirming his promise as one of the country's outstanding staying novice chasers.
Bailey said: "It was a good performance. It was horrible ground. He's a baby, a frame of a horse, but he has got a huge engine. He never shows a lot at home but Jason [Maguire] said there was huge improvement from the first time he rode him."
His owner-breeder David Keyte now hopes he will run in the John Oaksey National Hunt Chase. "I would love to go to Cheltenham with him," he said. "We bred him and have his full sister, who is four now, and two others."
David Pipe has an exciting crop of youngsters and added a double with Vieux Lion Rouge and The Liquidator winning the two bumpers. The former could head to the Festival to contest the champion bumper.
Colin Tizzard's Theatrical Star gained his first win over fences in the Bathwick Tyres Bridgwater Novices' Chase. The gelding jumped for fun out in front to win by five lengths.