Nobody can speak of the Queen Mother Champion Chase without mentioning Master Minded, the brilliant chaser from the Paul Nicholls camp who is going for a hat-trick in the race. He produced an astonishing performance to win the event in 2008 by 19 lengths from 2007 winner Voy Por Ustedes.  He was only 5yo then and was the first 5yo ever to win the race in its 49 runnings to that point.  He repeated effortlessly last year by 7l from Well Chief and has been the howling favourite since then to land the hat-trick.

He blotted his copybook here in November (4l 3rd of 5 to Well Chief) but was found to have suffered a rib injury and bounced back to beat Mahogany Blaze by 13l at Newbury in February.  If he’s back to his best it won’t be a race but he’s going to be at a dreadfully short price; he made an uncharacteristic jumping error at Newbury and there’s just a sniff of a suspicion that he might be past it.

The Arkle is always a good guide to next year’s Champion Chase and last year’s Arkle was a high class renewal won by Ireland’s Forpaddytheplasterer from the fast finishing KALAHARI KING.  The winner had the run of the race that day (ridden prominently) whilst the held up KALAHARI KING had all sorts of traffic trouble failing in the end by a short head to catch the winner.  The pair were clear of the rest that day and KALAHARI KING has come back better than ever this year winning a valuable 15 runner handicap at Doncaster by 3 1/4l.  This was his first run since finishing 10l 2nd to Master Minded’s stablemate Twist Magic (re-opposes today) in the Grade 2 Celebration Chase at Sandown 10 months before and that race had come at the end of a hard season for him so the effort clearly took something out of him.  Connections were looking for a midfield finish in the Doncaster race to put him in the picture for the Champion Chase so the result was a big boost and he will be presented fit and fresh for this.

This is very much the value bet in the race and a reverse forecast with Master Minded could be a nice saver.  Take KALAHARI KING to upset another Nicholls hotpot!!

Good Luck!


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