Master Minded has proven to be a slightly frustrating horse for connections since he won the second of his Queen Mother Champion Chases back in 2009 and this weekend we are set to see how he fares in the Amlin Chase at Ascot. The Paul Nicholls trained horse was a superstar for a couple of years at the two mile distance but apart from one or two glimpses of that old form he has disappointed slightly in the intervening years. It had appeared that Master Minded was back to his best when he won the Melling Chase over the further trip at Aintree last season but he was well below par recently when he made his seasonal debut. Master Minded could only manage third place in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree and his run in the Amlin Chase now looks vital as we look ahead to the rest of his season.
The field at Ascot is looking star studded so a win for Master Minded will put him right in the frame for the King George Chase at Kempton next month and even maybe a tilt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. Connections will have to decide whether they send him down the Gold Cup route or to the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and how he runs in the Amlin Chase will have a big effect on that. At his best, Master Minded is one of the best horses in training but so often recently he has proven inconsistent. Which horse turns up on Saturday could well determine the rest of his career, he still has plenty of time on his side but with the younger horses coming through it could be a pivotal race for a Cheltenham legend.