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Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins is puzzled to explain Melon’s two unsatisfactory runs this season.

He insisted “He was disappointing. He was never going, and I can’t find anything wrong with him. That’s too bad runs now for no apparent reason, we’ve changed a lot of things with him at home and worked him differently. I wonder at this stage does he need to go out in trip or is he looking for a fence”

“I think he’s still not in form. His homework looks good, but his racetrack work doesn’t. Maybe it’s ground, maybe he’s better on much softer, we’ll see.

Beaten just a neck in the Champion Hurdle by Buveur D’Air last year, he was only fourth on his seasonal reoccurrence behind stablemate Sharjah at Christmas but was over 20 lengths behind Apple’s Jade at Leopardstown on Saturday.

“He ran a cracker at Cheltenham last year, but I don’t think we’ve had him back to that on the racetrack this season which is worrying” added Mullins.

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