Melodic Rendezvous: unbeaten in his last four startsPICTURE: Mark Cranham
Rendezvous primed for Fighting Fifth speed test
MELODIC RENDEZVOUS' trainer Jeremy Scott emphasised the need for speed at Newcastle as he looked forward to the fascinating clash with My Tent Or Yours in the stanjames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle on Saturday.
The Nicky Henderson-trained My Tent Or Yours was on Thursday easy to back for the Grade 1 contest, with Coral offering 4-5. Melodic Rendezvous' odds range from 9-4 to 11-4, and it is 10-1 bar the pair.
Melodic Rendezvous, unbeaten in his last four starts, faces the Stan James Champion Hurdle third favourite at Newcastle, where he bids to step up on a fine comeback success in Wincanton's Elite Hurdle on what was his first start since being scratched from the Supreme Novices' due to a bad scope.
"The ground is probably going to end up good, good to soft in places, and on a flat, sharp track over the bare minimum trip it will be interesting to know how he copes in terms of speed," Scott said. "We have to see where we stand."
That was a reference to the option of pursuing a novice chase campaign following the Newcastle race, or pointing his stable star towards a Champion Hurdle goal - for which Melodic Rendezvous is generally a 16-1 shot. My Tent Or Yours is around 5-1.
Scott continued: "I thought he would have needed the run at Wincanton. My Tent Or Yours is a year younger so one would expect there would be a little more improvement from last year, whereas we have the benefit of having had a run."
The Fighting Fifth has attracted eight runners and clerk of the course James Armstrong said: "We have had a trouble-free passage so far. We have been dry since Wednesday last week. The ground has dried enough for me to call it good to soft, good in places in the home straight. We're due some really strong winds so it might dry a little further."
Connections of Grumeti, Cockney Sparrow, Duke Of Navan and Cotton Mill will all entertain some hopes of muscling in on the big two, while 150-1 shots Rock Relief and Stormy Weather make up the numbers.
The main market mover on Thursday for Saturday's highlight at Newbury, on what is arguably the strongest double-header of the jumps season, was Prince De Beauchene, the Willie Mullins-trained ten-year-old being cut into as short as 10-1, having been widely available at 16s on Thursday morning.