sport

Melodic boosts Champion claims

Melodic Rendezvous got his season back on track with a game success over Ptit Zig in the stanjames.com Champion Hurdle Trial.

Jeremy Scott's stable star was found to have torn a muscle after finishing fifth in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle and he returned to his best by capturing the scalp of the smart Ptit Zig.

Act Of Kalanisi took them along until unshipping Tony McCoy at the fourth-last, leaving Ptit Zig in front.

Daryl Jacob was never totally happy on the even-money favourite and was collared at the final flight by Melodic Rendezvous (7-4), who pulled four and a half lengths clear on the run-in.

Scholfield said: "He felt a better horse today than he did at Newcastle, so it's happy days.

"Jeremy was confident today so I'm glad it came off.

"If it came up soft (in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham) I'll be a happy man.

Scott said: "We really needed that. We've had a very anxious six weeks and it's lovely he's back to somewhere where we thought we should be.

"We found after Newcastle he had a torn muscle in his quarters after the race.

"It took time and patience and physio and he's back to wear he should be now.

"We actually thought he wanted quite good ground, but he's proved he loves soft ground and it's an edge he has over a lot of other horses who perhaps don't cope with it quite as well.

"The Champion Hurdle looks very competitive. Whether we are good enough to trouble the leading contenders I don't know, but it's an option.

"The plan originally was to have another run in the middle of February but we'll see how he comes out of this and play it day by day."