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Melon Ripe For Supreme Challenge

Melon Ripe For Supreme Challenge Ruby Walsh and Melon survive a blunder at the last flight

Ante-post favourite Melon is one of 10 possibles for trainer Willie Mullins in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle on Tuesday, the opening race of the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.

The five-year-old has had just one start for Mullins after his transfer from France, winning by 10 lengths at Leopardstown at the end of January to be promoted to favourite.

Mullins has a raft of options, including Bravissimo, Bunk Off Early, Cilaos Emery, Crack Mome, Montalbano, Pleasant Company and Riven Light.

The County Carlow handler also has Let's Dance and Airlie Beach in the mix, but both of those of horses are among the leading lights for the mares' novices' event later in the week.

Nigel Twiston-Davies' Ballyandy could lead the home defence following his Betfair Hurdle success last month.

David Pipe's Moon Racer is another key contender after 26 confirmations were received but he is also still in the reckoning for the Stan James Champion Hurdle at this stage.

Movewiththetimes is a notable possible for Paul Nicholls, while Nicky Henderson can choose between Beyond Conceit and River Wylde.

Neon Wolf still has the option for Harry Fry, although the trainer has stated the Neptune is his preferred Festival option.

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Melon Ripe For Supreme Challenge
Richard Okoye

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