1st (6) Master Minded 3-1
“This is some horse. He’s unbelievable. I just couldn’t steady him. He was pulling my arms all the way and I was worried that he might be going too easily,” said jockey Ruby Walsh, “ Jesus, he’s some horse! He’s only a five-year-old. They went a hell of a gallop and they were running away everywhere. I thought turning the top of the hill I was looking round thinking this is probably not the right thing but he was going so well it didn’t matter, just get over these fences He’s a machine.”
“We thought he was good, but not this good. He was awesome,” echoed the owner Clive Smith, whose Kauto Star goes in the totesport Gold Cup tomorrow.
“It’s funny how things work out,” Smith continued, “We had Kauto Star in this race two years ago and he fell. Maybe, if he had won then, he would still be in this race. So perhaps it was fate that he didn’t.
“Paul thinks Master Minded has improved about two stone this year so that’s incredible. The nerves aren’t quite so jangled now!”
The word “awesome” also fell from the lips of the trainer Paul Nicholls, who had suggested to his rider before the race that Master Minded could even be better than Azertyuiop, who won the Champion Chase in 2004. “He is,” said Walsh as he returned to the winner’s enclosure.
Nicholls, winning the race for the third time, had been worried about Master Minded’s jumping after Exeter in December, when the horse had unseated Sam Thomas. “He was jumping a bit French-style, so we did a lot more work with him after that. He’s a very intelligent horse,” he said.
Nicholls, who also won the Champion Chase with Call Equiname in 1999, was confident throughout the race. “It was always a good gallop which suited him and when he cruised up to the lead, I thought there’s no way he’s going to be stopping now.”
“These are the races that we want to be winning,” said the trainer, who added that the horse will now be put away for the season. “He’s still only five and we’ve got to look after him.
“He’s awesome isn’t he for a five year-old. He jumped absolutely brilliantly, he travelled well and I’m gobsmacked really. I know he’s been improving at home and he was obviously a hugely talented horse and it’s just incredible.
“I said to Ruby beforehand why don’t we win handicaps (at The Festival) and he said they win their races during the winter and it’s the races like this that we want to be winning and he’s spot on.
“He’s a proper horse to win a race like that. I’ll look forward to tomorrow and isn’t Clive lucky to have horses like that. The great thing with Clive is that he leaves it to me and Charlie. I’ve got free hand to do what I want and run them when I like and it makes a massive difference.
“Anthony Bromley bought him for us and he was a horse that both
Anthony and myself had been following for 12 months trying to buy. We
could see huge potential in him and he wasn’t that dear now.”
KING SALUTES WINNER
Trainer Alan King was quick to pay tribute to Master Minded, runaway winner of the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase, after his defending champion Voy Por Ustedes finished the 19-length runner-up.
King said of the 5/2 favourite: “I’m very proud of my fella.
“That was an awesome performance from the winner and I take my hat off to him.
“We were beaten fair and square. It was a proper test today and the best horse won.
“It had been said before that it might not be a vintage renewal, but it doesn’t look that way now does it?”
Looking to the future, King continued: “I think we might look at stepping him up in trip now.
“Providing he comes out of today OK, we could look at running him over two and a half miles at Aintree next month.”
TOO FAST FOR FAIR ALONG
The normally front-running Fair Along could not take his customary early lead in the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase but stayed on to take third, albeit 35 lengths behind the hugely-impressive winner Master Minded.
"He was just flat out from the word go and then stayed on at the end," said Fair Along''s trainer Philip Hobbs. "He saved himself a bit and then ran on. The obvious race for him now is the two and a half miler at Aintree because there is knowhere else for him to go and the way he stayed on here you''d say he''d have no trouble with that trip."
It was left to Schindlers Hunt, who finished fourth, to make the running and his trainer Dessie Hughes added: "It was a great run and it was good to see him come back to himself. We maybe made a bit too much use of him and he could have finished third but the winner was just a machine, he was unbelievable and he''s a beautiful horse to look at as well. We might go to Aintree and we''d definitely think about the Swordlestown at Punchestown."
SEASONS HOLIDAYS QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE FACTS
1. The National Hunt Two-Mile Champion Chase was first run in 1959 and the Queen Mother’s name was added to the race title in 1980, the year of her 80th birthday.
2. The race’s roll of honour includes plenty of multiple winners.
Badsworth Boy (1983-85) is the only three-time winner. The double winners
are Fortria (1960 and 1961), Drinny’s Double (1967 and 1968), Royal
Relief (1972 and 1974), Skymas (1976 and 1977), Hilly Way (1978 and 1979),
Pearlyman (1987 and 1988), Barnbrook Again (1989 and 1990), Viking Flagship
(1994 and 1995) and Moscow Flyer (2003 and 2005).
3. Irish-trained runners have a good record in the Seasons Holidays
Queen Mother Champion Chase, winning 19 of the 48 runnings. Newmill,
trained by John Murphy and ridden by Andrew McNamara, was the most recent
Irish-trained scorer in 2006.
4. Tom Dreaper has the best record of any trainer in the race, winning
six runnings with Fortria (1960 and 1961), Ben Stack (1964), Flyingbolt
(1966), Muir (1969), and Straight Fort (1970). Of current trainers, Arthur
Moore (Drumgora 1981 and Klairon Davis 1996), Paul Nicholls (1999 Call
Equiname and Azertyuiop 2004) and Jessica Harrington (Moscow Flyer 2003
and 2005) have the best record.
5. Flyingbolt was the shortest-priced winner when succeeding at 1/5
in 1966, while Another Dolly, who was awarded the 1980 race at odds of
33/1, provided the biggest upset.
6. Pat Taaffe is the most successful rider with
five wins, while Moscow Flyer’s partner Barry Geraghty is the
only current jockey to have landed more than one Seasons Holidays Queen
Mother Champion Chase.
7. The oldest horse to have triumphed was the 12-year-old Skymas in
1977, while the youngest victors were the six-year-olds Inkslinger in
1973 and Voy Por Ustedes in 2007.
8. A small but select field usually lines up for the Seasons Holidays
Queen Mother Champion Chase. The largest field was in 1999 when 13 runners
went to post, one while only five runners lined up in 1985, 1972, 1968,
1964, 1963 and 1961.
9. The most successful owners are George Ansley, who enjoyed three wins
with Fortria (1960 and 1961) and Straight Fort (1970), and Doug Armitage
who had three victories with Badsworth Boy (1983, 1984 and 1985).
10. Michael Dickinson trained the winner for three
consecutive years with Rathgorman (1982) and Badsworth Boy (1983 & 1984). His mother
Monica had taken charge of the training operation for Badsworth Boy’s
final success in 1985.
11. In 1986, the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother
Champion Chase winner Buck House subsequently met with that year’s
Cheltenham Gold Cup heroine Dawn Run in a special match race at Punchestown
in April, 1986. It was Dawn Run who prevailed by two and a half lengths.
12. The Irish Independent Arkle Chase is a good
guide for future success in the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion
Chase. Voy Por Ustedes (2007), Azertyuiop (2004), Moscow Flyer (2003
and 2005), Flagship Uberalles (2002), Klairon Davis (1996) and Remittance
Man (1992) all won the novices’ event
before their Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase victory.
PREVIOUS RESULTS -
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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