Melodic Rendezvous (nearside) on his way to winning at SandownPICTURE: Mark Cranham
Melodic gives Scholfield
and Scott Grade 1 win
Report: Sandown, Saturday
32Red Hurdle Novices' Hurdle (Registered as the Tolworth Hurdle) (Grade 1) 2m½f 4yo+
JEREMY SCOTT and Nick Scholfield were both celebrating maiden wins at Grade 1 level after the progressive Melodic Rendezvous put a good field to the sword in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle.
Unbeaten Pendra, Nicky Henderson's duo Golden Hoof and Royal Boy and smart ex-Flat performer Poet gave a strong look to this 2m½f contest that has been won in the past by the likes of Monsignor, Noland and last year Captain Conan.
Royal Box cut out most of the early running with Pendra snapping at his heels, eventually giving way to that challenger at the second last. But no sooner had Charlie Longsdon's runner moved into a clear lead, he was joined by the Cash For Honours-owned Melodic Rendezvous and the pair jumped the last as one.
Landing full of running, Melodic Rendezvous asserted on the flat to run out a convincing winner, in the process earning quotes of 16-1 for both the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle and Neptune Investment Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
"Hopefully he's a bit special and can take us to Cheltenham," said a beaming Scholfield, riding his first winner at Sandown.
He added: "He was just idling after the last but after a few smacks he's picked up well and there was more left."
Winning trainer Scott added: "We have ticked away with him. Two years ago you would not have thought he would be much of a superstar. He is every inch a stayer but has pace as well so he will have entries in both races and we will take a view nearer the time."
Noel Fehily, rider of runner-up Pendra, said: "He's a nice horse, he's why I came here. He's run a big race and I'd need to talk to the owner and trainer, but I imagine we'll go up in trip now."
Henderson said of the third home Royal Boy: "It's only his second time on a racecourse and you can't jump like that and win a race of this s tandard."
The disappointment of the race was Poet, who had been mooted as a potential Champion Hurdle contender by part-owner John Francome.
Racing on the wide outside of his rivals throughout, he failed to pic k up when asked for his effort, finishing sixth of the seven runners.