Willie Mullins is at a loss to explain Melon’s two disappointing runs this season.
Beaten just a neck in the Champion Hurdle by Buveur D’Air last March, he was only fourth on his comeback behind stablemate Sharjah at Christmas but was over 20 lengths behind Apple’s Jade at Leopardstown on Saturday.
“He was disappointing. He was never going and I can’t find anything wrong with him. That’s two bad runs now for no apparent reason,” said Mullins.
“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.
“He ran a cracker at Cheltenham last year but I don’t think we’ve had him back to that on the racetrack.
“We thought he was working really well at home but he’s gone out and disappointed really badly.
“The mare (Apple’s Jade) was fantastic. We could have run a lot better and still been behind the mare. It would have been hard to beat her even if we were right. She was very very good.”