Despite Fiepes Shuffle super performance at Kempton over Christmas when winning the Desert Orchid Chase, it was the Queen Mother Champion Chase odds of Master Minded that were most affected. He has been cut from 4-7 to 4-9, bookmakers obviously believing that there is nothing for him to beat at Cheltenham. Nonetheless, Feipes Shuffle, who had been a first fence faller, when Master Minded won the Tingle Creek Chase at the beginning of December, ran a tremendous race in the Desert Orchid coming from behind at the last fence to finish ahead of the much vaunted Petit Robin on the run in.
Notable failures in the race were the two from Paul Nicholls yard, Twist Magic, who had gone off favourite and Takeroc; neither featured in a race that was dominated by Feipes Shuffle from the outset. The German bred horse, trained by Christian Von Der Recke has now been given a quote for the Queen Mother Chase at 20/1, which represent great each way value.
Second favourite for the Queen Mother Chase, Tidal Bay, disappointed over Christmas coming second behind the Paul Nicholls trained Nozic in the Rowland Meyrick Chase over three miles. It has placed his trainer Howard Johnson in a quandary as to whether or not to go back in distance and perhaps try to reverse form with Master Minded in the Queen Mother. There was no doubting that Tidal Bay got the trip, but jumping errors and the concession of 13lb to the winner was too much of a burden.