Robin set to teach Master a lesson
On March 17th, Paul Nicholls’ Master Minded will bid to land a hat-trick of Queen Mother Champion Chases at the Cheltenham Festival.
While he remains a warm favourite to achieve the feat, there are sound reasons for believing that the value lies elsewhere on the ante-post list.
It seems clear to the overwhelming majority of impartial observers that the form of Master Minded has declined since his second Festival success.
That’s not to say that he isn’t still a force to be reckoned with, quite the opposite. In fact, the French bred gelding is still the highest rated two mile chaser in Britain & Ireland, and by some way.
Now though might just be the time for a young pretender to wrest the crown from the champion and in Petit Robin, another French import, Nicky Henderson could have just the horse to do such a job.
Petit Robin put up a fine performance when landing Kempton’s Desert Orchid Chase over the Christmas period, beating Well Chief, a horse who had previously taken the scalp of Master Minded at Sandown.
Petit Robin still has something to find, but he seems to be on an upward curve and hails from a yard that will have him spot on for the task in hand at Cheltenham Race course.
He was beaten into third by just nine lengths in last season’s two mile championship and I’m fairly confident that Petit Robin, available at a tempting 10/1 with Ladbrokes, is going to give the champion most to think about, especially if he has a top Cheltenham jockey on board.
Related news & articles
Monday January 24
It’s very nearly a year and some seven outings since the smart Kalahari King last tasted success, but Ferdy Murphy’s talented performer showed definite signs of a return to form with a solid, if luckless display in the Grade 1 Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot on January 22, writes Elliot Slater. More
Thursday January 21
Cheltenham’s three-mile Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle is shaping up to be a fascinating event and the Irish runners have a good chance of following up last year’s victory by compatriot Weapons Amnesty. More
Wednesday January 20
The Baltimore Ravens hope that two of their key veterans will both go back on recent comments suggesting that their just-completed season will be their last in the NFL. More
Thursday October 30
Eighth-seeded and defending champion David Nalbandian, together with top seeded Roger Federer and gold medallist Rafael Nadal finally reached the third round of the Paris Masters last Wednesday. More