Jan 24, 2629 days ago

Cheltenham Preview – Champion Chase Betting

Champion Chase Preview

After Champion Chase glory in 2009, no one would have believed that you could get 13/8 about Master Minded repeating the feat in 2010.

However the seven-year old was turned over in tame fashion on his seasonal reappearance at Cheltenham in November, and it was later discovered that the French gelding was suffering from a rib injury, which has subsequently kept him off the track since.

Following a steady road to recovery, trainer Paul Nicholls has stated that his stable star could well head straight to the Festival. According to the Ditcheat handler, Master Minded is on his way back to peak condition.

Had the injury not occurred, Master Minded would be odds on for a third crown. He is undoubtedly the best two mile chaser in the world, and indeed the best since the great Moscow Flyer.

As a writer however, I cannot mark with any degree of certainty or confidence that Master is a shoe in for success in March.

For sure, there is no way that Nicholls would run the horse if he wasn’t right. However despite the aura of genius surrounding the champion trainer, he surely cannot be sure whether he will be the same again – no matter how well he is looking on the gallops.

Also, before his reappearance at Cheltenham, Nicholls warned punters that his charge would need the run. This indicates that the horse does not go best when fresh – and fresh he will of course be, come the Festival.

With this in mind – and the possibility of a traditionally small field almost guaranteed once again this year, an each-way selection opposing the favourite could be just the ticket.

Twist Magic (5/1) has really come into his own this season. A powerful front runner, he galloped and jumped his rivals into the ground when winning the Tingle Creek at Sandown, before a similar performance saw him win the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot.

The latter has quelled any doubts that the horse can only perform on flat tracks, following disappointing efforts in the past at Cheltenham. It is quite unbelievable that a horse of this quality is actually the second string in Paul Nicholls yard.

As Nicholls has said, nothing can touch Master Minded on his day. However if the champion is indeed a shadow of his former self, Twist Magic has to be the one to take advantage.

With the likes of Well Chief and Voy Por Ustedes now seemingly past their best, there is a distinct lack of quality in the two mile chase division.

The Arkle graduates of 2009 hardly seem anything special, and perhaps the horse who has come through best from that bunch – Planet Of Sound, will not even run.

So aside from Twist Magic, only Golden Silver (14/1) and Tranquil Sea (33/1) make much appeal out of the declarations. The each-way value is really there for the punters – and taking a price now is advised as there won’t be much more action before the runners line up for the big race on March 17.

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