Leopardstown: Melon cut for Supreme after win

Melon goes long at the last on his hurdles debut at Leopardstown

PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos) Melon cut for Supreme after debut success By Peter Scargill 2:26PM 29 JAN 2017

MELON is the new favourite for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival after making a winning debut for trainer Willie Mullins at Leopardstown on Sunday.

Lining up for the 2m maiden hurdle with a tall home reputation, Melon produced a professional performance, bar a small error at the last, to beat his only serious rival Broken Soul by ten lengths.

Mullins said: "Apart from the last where he genuflected, he jumped very well for a horse having his first run over hurdle. They went a good gallop and he won easily.

"He showed us plenty when we worked him for the first time in the autumn. We had to wait for him to come right and after that performance I'd imagine he'll head for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle."

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Bookmakers were instantly impressed and slashed Melon to 9-2 favourite (from 10) in a place, but he is generally the 5-1 joint-favourite (from 10) alongside former Champion Bumper winner Moon Racer.

Let's Dance

Let's Dance cruises to victory under jockey Ruby Walsh

PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

Albert Bartlett option for Let's Dance

Mullins and Walsh doubled up with Let's Dance in the 2m4f Grade 2 Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors "50,000 Cheltenham Bonus Stable Staff" Novice Hurdle.

The five-year-old mare was winning for the fourth time in a row and has options in the OLBG.com Mares' Hurdle, Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle, Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle and Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenhan Festival.

Mullins said: "She had experience on her side and was well-treated by the race conditions. She did the job very well and will be on our Festival team.

"The mares' novice hurdle would look an obvious target. However, that race is over 2m2f and she'll have entries in the longer novice races."

Owner Rich Ricci was leaning towards the two longer races and told At The Races: "She was very impressive. I think the Albert Bartlett might be the one for her. Either the Neptune or the Bartlett would be the way I would be thinking."

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