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master minded

Master Minded: another young, top-class French-bred chaser


Master Minded imperious for sire Nikos

Report: Cheltenham Festival, Wednesday

Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1)
Master Minded (Nikos-Haute Tension (Garde Royale))

THE top-rated chaser Master Minded drew the plaudits once more after putting in a foot-perfect round to win the Grade 1 Queen Mother Champion Chase for the second year in succession. He won by a distance.

In doing so he kept Nikos's name in lights and the Paul Nichols runner easily remains the best horse by the former French-based sire.

Out of Haute Tension, a daughter of leading French broodmare sire Garde Royale, Master Minded is a half-brother to Hautclan, the winner of three races over three miles and two and a half miles in the UK, and Good Spirit, who won three races in France before transferring to the UK where he won over two miles last year. Master Minded's brother Positive Thinking won three times at Auteuil.

Haute Tension also has a four-year-old brother to Master Minded named Obunto, who has run twice, a three-year-old colt by Poliglote named Lucky To Be and a yearling filly, also by Poliglote, named Clever Mode

The chaser's second dam, La Vedrelle, is grand-dam of Heros Fatal, winner of the 2000 Cesarewitch and over £180,000 in prize-money.

Trainer Paul Nicholls said of the winner: "If we mind him and look after him he can keep on coming back.

"Last year we were probably a little bit harder on him than before today. You only get him ready to perform at a level you think. We just wanted him to win the race today, which he has done.

"He's got a little lazy now because he does everything so easily.

"He jumps great and does everything really well, but what a wonderful run by Well Chief.

"It's the big races you concentrate on. It's just great and good for everyone involved in the team."

Second place went to Well Chief (Night Shift), who showed he retains all his old ability after a 698-day absence.

The fragile ten-year-old finished second in the race in 2005 behind Moscow Flyer, and ran a hugely creditable race on his comeback, staying on well to battle past fellow 12-1 shot Petit Robin, who finished third.

Well Chief's owner David Johnson said: "It's been a tremendous training achievement by David (Pipe) because the horse has legs like glass.

"He's runinto a superstar today and if his legs are OK, we would take the winner on again if he went to Aintree."

Pipe added: "He'll probably be remembered as the horse never to have won the Champion Chase, but this effort shows you what a great era it was when he was competing against Moscow Flyer and Azertyuiop.





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