Paul Townend produced Boston Bob with a beautifully-timed challenge to claim victory in the Betfred Melling Chase at Aintree.

Willie Mullins' high-class hurdler has had mixed results over fences over the past two seasons, finishing sixth in the Ryanair Chase at last month's Cheltenham Festival on his most recent start.

Things looked to be happening a little too quickly for the nine-year-old in the early stages of this two-and-a-half-mile contest, but Townend was content to bide his time off a strong gallop before launching Boston Bob with a challenge in the straight.

His mount responded by showing a brilliant turn of foot between the second last and the final obstacle, bringing him from seventh place to a narrow lead.

He landed a little flat-footed after jumping the fence, giving a chance to both Rolling Aces and Ballynagour, but Boston Bob came back on the level to beat the former by three-and-a-quarter lengths.

Townend said: "I thought I was in trouble a bit at the third-last, but he pulled out plenty.

"I know he's had two falls but he's actually a very good jumper, and he deserved that."

Owner Graham Wylie said: "After the Ryanair Chase, Ruby (Walsh) got off him and said he really enjoyed it, so we thought we'd bring him here.

"We thought the distance might be a bit too hot for him as he's a three-mile horse really, but what a brilliant ride by Paul.

"We started him over hurdles to get his confidence back and then Willie (Mullins) decided he wasn't going to go for the World Hurdle after his run in the Cleeve."

Rolling Aces' trainer Paul Nicholls said: "He didn't handle the ground at Ascot last time and has struggled with his breathing so we tried the tongue-tie.

"I've been quite hard on him at home as I thought he was taking the Mickey, but that was a good run on better ground. He likes going right-handed so the new two-mile-six Listed race at Sandown would suit him perfectly."

David Pipe, trainer of the third-placed Ballynagour, said: "He put two good consecutive runs together, so we're pleased with him.

"We're still experimenting with the way we train him so hopefully he'll keep improving."