Master Minded Queen Mother Champion Chase Double
1st (6) Master Minded 4/11 fav
If the second successive victory of Master Minded in the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Chase was not the rout that some pundits predicted, it more than satisfied connections.
“He’s an amazing horse. I thought that about Kauto [Star] then he came along,” said trainer Paul Nicholls.
The race unfolded at a hectic pace, with Marodima, who caused two breakaways sat the start, leading the field to the ninth.
“Ruby [Walsh] and I talked about it before the race and knew they were going to go fairly fast. It just worked out right. The one place you want to be then is in front. He’s so uncomplicated, you can ride him how you want to ride him,” said the trainer.
“He was a bit of a tearaway when he was younger and had his falls, but he’s much more relaxed now. Ruby said you can give him a slap and he just takes off. He’s so relaxed now you just don’t know what’s in the tank,” he added.
"We knew we had him right and it was brilliant. I'm obviously relieved because everybody expects a lot of him and all this nonsense of how far he was going to win by was of no interest. We just wanted him to win the race and that is what he has done. 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 today because we didn't really know about him. You only get them ready to perform at a level you think. People were talking about 15 or 20 lengths today but we just wanted the horse to win the race and he has done that.
“He's got a little lazy now because he does have everything so easily. He jumped great and travelled really well - what a wonderful run by Well Chief as well.
“These are the races that count. We have had a few runners this week and Celestial Halo ran an absolute blinder yesterday. It's the big races that you concentrate on and it's just great. I just want to say well done to the whole team.
Nicholls sees much the same sort of schedule for Master Minded next season: “It’ll be the Tingle Creek, the Victor Chandler and back here, God willing. There’s no point in going to Punchestown, it’ll be too fast. If we keep looking after them, they’ll keep winning good races. That’s what National Hunt racing wants.”
Owner Clive Smith admitted that he felt a certain amount of relief: “You hope he’s going to win, everyone says he’s going to win, so there is a lot of relief. But Ruby said he was no problem at all. He jumped beautifully. He just did what he had to do. Ruby is the very, very best and Paul is a sensational trainer. They are great chaps.”
Ruby Walsh commented: “I would say that he wasn’t as good today as he can be. He got worked up in the parade and the couple of false starts were messy. He’s just a very, very good horse. I think he’s better this year. Good horses always win on an off day.”
For Walsh, Master Minded’s victory made it three successive wins for the Irishman, who had won on Mikael d’Haguenet and Cooldine in the previous two races. You have to go back to 1999 for the last jockey to win three races on a single Festival day. That was Mick Fitzgerald, whose wins that day included See More Business in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Nicholls’ first Gold Cup win. Fitzgerald, though, did not win his races in sequence.
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Paul Nicholls, Trainer
“There are four big races at The Festival - the Champion Hurdle, this race, the World Hurdle and the Gold Cup. We were beaten a neck yesterday in the Champion Hurdle with Celestial Halo which was great but it’s nice to have one of the big four on the board.
“At the end of the day, we want to look after Master Minded. He may not have been as impressive today as he was when he won last year but we know him better now. We want to win nicely but also leave plenty in the tank for the future.
“Ruby was very happy with him today. The horse is so uncomplicated - he jumps and travels and you can do anything you like with him.
“Clive (Smith, owner) and I will have a chat about what we do next with him but he won’t be going to Aintree this year as he would have to go over two and a half miles there. He is not the easiest horse to train as he tends to tie up if you give him a day off. The horse needs to be fresh. Sandown or Punchestown could be a possibility, but the ground could be too quick for him by then. We will give him a fortnight off after today and then decide what to do.
“We will bring him back here again next year and as I said, we want to leave plenty in the tank with him.
“My main worry was that I gave him some time off after he won at Ascot and it took a fair bit of work to get him right for today. I said to Georgie (his partner) I just hope we have done enough with him. We are still learning all the time with this horse.
“I must just say that Clive is a pleasure to train for. He has put the money down to buy some good horses with Anthony Bromley and myself and doesn’t interfere.
“Ruby is unflappable. Willie (Mullins) and I are lucky to have him and he is a real pro.
“I don’t see that there is really any point at this stage going over further with him while he is so good at two miles, but you can never rule anything out.”
Clive Smith, Owner
“I just feel extremely lucky. I first came to The Festival in 1974 when Captain Christy won the Gold Cup and watched the races down on the rails with my friends. I never thought I would own a runner here, let alone a winner. It really is a great excitement.
“I will discuss it with Paul, but I would say that he is very likely not to run again this season. If he does, it could be at Punchestown.
“Last Saturday I saw Kauto Star and he looked probably the best he has ever been.”
PREVIOUS RESULTS -
2008-WINNER-MASTER MINDED 5-11-10 Owner-Clive Smith; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-3/1
POR USTEDES 6-11-10 Owner-Sir Robert Ogden; Trainer-Alan
King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-5/1
2006-WINNER-NEWMILL 8-11-10 Owner-Mary Hayes; Trainer-John Murphy IRE;
Jockey-Andrew McNamara; SP-16/1
FLYER 11-11-10 Owner-Brian Kearney; Trainer-Jessica
Harrington IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-6/4 Fav
2004-WINNER-AZERTYUIOP 7-11-10 Owner-John Hales; Trainer-Paul Nicholls;
Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-15/8
2003-WINNER-MOSCOW FLYER 9-12-00 Owner-Brian Kearney; Trainer-Jessica
Harrington IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-7/4 Fav
2002-WINNER-FLAGSHIP UBERALLES 8-12-00 Owner-Elizabeth
Gutner & Michael
Krysztofiak Racing; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-7/4
2000-WINNER-EDREDON BLEU 8-12-00 Owner-Jim Lewis; Trainer-Henrietta
Knight; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-7/2
1999-WINNER-CALL EQUINAME 9-12-00 Owner-Mick Coburn, Paul Barber and
Colin Lewis; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-7/2
1998-WINNER-ONE MAN 10-12-00 Owner-John Hales; Trainer-Gordon Richards;
Jockey-Brian Harding; SP-7/2
1997-WINNER-MARTHA’S SON 10-12-00 Owner-Paddy
Hartigan and Michael Ward-Thomas; Trainer-Tim Forster; Jockey-Rodney
1996-WINNER-KLAIRON DAVIS 7-12-00 Owner-Chris Jones; Trainer-Arthur
Moore IRE; Jockey-Francis Woods; SP-9/1
SEASONS HOLIDAYS QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE
(Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase since 2007, Queen Mother Champion Chase 1980-2006, previously National Hunt Two Mile Champion Chase from when first run in 1959)
Year Winner Age/Wt Jockey Trainer Owner SP Ran
*Another Dolly finished second to Chinrullah, who was subsequently disqualified after failing a post-race urine test
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