Master Minded is dual winner of the Queen Mother Champion Chase and he will be making his seasonal debut this weekend at Ascot as connections plan his campaign back towards the Cheltenham Festival. The Clive Smith owned horse was untouchable in the Champion Chase in 2008 and 2009 before disappointing in the race last season when an odds-on favourite for the hat-trick. Master Minded will be taking his chance in the Amlin 1965 Chase as he bids to prove his performance at Cheltenham was nothing more than a mere blip, he was clearly unhappy throughout the race and failed to show his usual spark back in 5th place with Big Zeb scoring a deserved victory. He will be in for a tough race at Ascot with the likes of Planet Of Sound and Petit Robin lined up to take the favourite on making it a more than competitive renewal at this stage of the season.
Paul Nicholls is bullish about Master Minded as always and he will hope that a breathing operation during the Summer will see the seven-year-old back to his best, if he does regain his top form then he will be virtually untouchable over 2 miles this season. The question mark over his return on Saturday at Ascot is the trip for Master Minded, he will be going 3 furlongs more than the 2 miles he is used to and that has to put a question mark over his head. However, a return to form for Master Minded at Ascot will see his price for the Queen Mother Champion Chase contract further, at the moment he and Big Zeb are vying for the head of the market and we should learn a lot this weekend. Master Minded is already a Cheltenham Festival legend with the two Champion Chase victories to his name, he is still young enough to add to that tally and few would be surprised to see one of the most popular horses in training return to his very best this season.