Master Minded can triumph in the 2011 Queen Mother Champion Chase. (credit: Carine06)
Next month's Cheltenham Festival represents another year and another Champion Chase that looks set to be dominated by the prescence of legendary chaser Master Minded.
Paul Nicholls’ superstar put up one of the greatest performances of all time when he cruised to success in the race in 2008 and he returned to defend his crown, not quite as emphatically, in 2009.
At just seven-years-old, he was sent off at 4/5 for last year’s renewal of the two mile feature but the wheels came off on the back of a couple of unconvincing performances. A victim of his own success in 2008 there were many punters left wondering whether he would ever bounce back to the form that saw him deliver one of Cheltenham’s most memorable victories and he was whisked away for a breathing operation last summer.
Luckily for his fans his rehabilitation looks to have gone sensationally well and he has returned to action this season with two breathtaking victories at Ascot and Cheltenham. A sixteen length dismissal of I’msingingtheblues in the Amlin 1965 Chase followed by an eight length victiory over Petit Robin in the Tingle Creek look to have silenced his doubters and he looks to be back to his very best.
His electrifying jumping has been foot-perfect once again and he looks to be oozing all the class that has seen him dominate the two mile division for the last four years. He will be incredibly hard to beat if he turns up at Cheltenham in the same mood and while 2010 Champion Chaser Big Zeb might have something to say about the situation, it is hard to envisage Master Minded not regaining his crown come March.
Queen Mother Champion Chase ante post selection: