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Last Updated: 18/01/14 3:12pm
Melodic Rendezvous: Impressive winner
Melodic Rendezvous bounced back to form with an impressive display in the Stanjames.com Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock.
Jeremy Scott's charge missed the major spring festivals last season but made a fine start to the current campaign when winning at Wincanton, before blotting his copy book with a disappointing display in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle.
But Scott was adamant that was not his true running and the 7/4 chance proved the point with a victory over market rival Ptit Zig.
Nick Scholfield got the perfect trip on Melodic Rendezvous, who travelled kindly in behind the leaders and stalked Ptit Zig after that one was left in front when Act Of Kalanisi fell four from home.
Scholfield kept his cards close to his chest until after jumping the last and his mount responded in fine style, bounding four and a half lengths clear.
Scott said on Racing UK: "He pulled a muscle at Newcastle, the physio did a great job as he was only walking for a couple of weeks but we've build him back up.
"We've only really been able to do serious work with him in the last fortnight.
"We felt the big guns probably weren't going to be here today so hoped it might be a good opportunity.
"He seems to relish this soft ground and that may be the key to him. He travelled, jumped and saw the race out well, which wasn't the case at Newcastle.
"If he came out of this well we'll have half an eye on the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las but we'll see how he is.
"Based on the evidence of all his races, soft ground would appear to be an advantage and we'd love to see some soft ground come March."
Sky Bet went 25/1 from 33s for the blue riband on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival and representative Michael Shinners said: "We're still happy to take a few quid on Melodic Rendezvous for the Stan James Champion Hurdle.
"He's a classy horse but seems to be at his best when the mud is flying and conditions are likely to be considerably faster at Cheltenham.
"We're happy to offer 25/1 for him in what is shaping up to be an ultra-competitive Champion Hurdle."