Mullins expects more from Melon
Willie Mullins is working hard with Melon behind the scenes to ensure he shines in Saturday's BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle.
Melon failed to live up to pre-race expectations when finishing fourth in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas but is primed to bounce back in the Grade One contest at the same track when he lines up on day one of the Dublin Racing Festival this weekend.
Mullins admits he was underwhelmed by the performance in his seasonal reappearance last month but believes last year's Champion Hurdle runner-up can show his true colours after being worked hard at the champion trainer's Closutton base recently.
"I was a little bit disappointed with him at Christmas but because we hadn't got a run into our horses, a few of mine were running below par and it looks like they need a run," Mullins said in the Irish Independent.
"He looks like he needed it and his work at home suggests to me that we've just got to get down and do more work with him. He's a lot stronger horse than he was last year.
"He's taking more work so we're giving it to him and we see improvement at home. If he shows that improvement on the racetrack, he has a major chance."
Melon will be expected to push Apple's Jade in the hotly-anticipated six-runner contest, which also includes Petit Mouchoir, Supasundae, Farclas and Tombstone.
Aidan Perkins is a senior journalist that specialises in football stories. Aidan, a Liverpool fan, also has a broad knowledge of several other sports.