Politologue chasing spot in elite Melling club
Politologue will bid to become the sixth dual winner of the Melling Chase at Aintree today.
Viking Flagship won back-to-back renewals of the two-and-a-half-mile Grade One in the 1990s, while Direct Route, Native Upmanship, Moscow Flyer and Voy Por Ustedes have all been victorious twice since.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Politologue, which notched his second top-level success when seeing off Willie Mullins's Min 12 months ago, returns at the top of his game for the rematch, after filling the runner-up spot behind the brilliant Altior in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.
"He ran incredibly well in the Queen Mother - I would say it was a career-best," said Nicholls.
"Two and a half miles on a flat track suits him well, so we are looking forward to seeing if he can win the race for the second year running."
Min was widely regarded as the biggest threat to Altior last month, but could only finish fifth.
Mullins feels the decision to restrain Min was to blame for his below-par performance and he is hopeful that reverting to his normal tactics will pay dividends.
Jessica Harrington saddles Woodland Opera under Robbie Power.