Master Minded in flying form after winning return

PAUL NICHOLLS reports Master Minded to be in rude health following his impressive return to action at Ascot on Saturday.

The seven-year-old disappointed when bidding for a third successive Champion Chase at Cheltenham in the spring, but repaired his reputation with a fine display in the Amlin 1965 Chase. His next target is the Tingle Creek at Sandown on December 4, which he ran away with in 2008.

“You wouldn’t know Master Minded had raced,” Nicholls said in his column on

“He will go for the Tingle Creek with Twist Magic. I haven’t spoken to Andy Stewart (owner) about Tataniano yet, but it could be that we sidestep Sandown and go to the Desert Orchid Chase at the Kempton Boxing Day meeting.”

Elsewhere Saturday was a mixed day for the champion trainer.

He enjoyed further success at Ascot with Silviniaco Conti and Woolcombe Folly, while at Haydock Toubab impressed but What A Friend disappointed in the Betfair Chase behind Imperial Commander.

“Woolcombe Folly may go to Cheltenham next for a two-mile handicap chase,” Nicholls continued.

“What A Friend was clearly our big weekend disappointment but I think the ground was softer than advertised at Haydock.

“But he clearly has it all to prove now. In fact, I have given him an entry for the Lexus this morning, a race he won last year, although he is still in the King George.”

Meanwhile Tony McCoy put his disappointing weekend behind him by bouncing back to winning ways at Ffos Las. The champion jockey suffered three successive crunching falls at Ascot on Saturday, which included Albertas Run, who was leading Master Minded when coming to grief in the Amlin 1965 Chase.

McCoy sat out racing on Sunday in order to recover, but was back in the groove in Wales as he guided the Rebecca Curtis-trained Teaforthree (4-5 favourite) to victory in the Integral Geotechnique “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle.

“It’s nice to get round and have a winner after a disappointing Saturday,” McCoy said.

“I was trying to stretch Master Minded. At the last fence down the back he (Albertas Run) was going to be very long at it so I let him do his own thing and I shouldn’t have done.

“Believe it or not I don’t have that many Saturday horses to ride, so to have one of them fall was disappointing.”

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