Smith has Chandler in Mind

Clive Smith believes Master Minded is back to his very best ahead of his tilt at the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot later this month.

Clive Smith believes Master Minded is back to his very best ahead of his tilt at the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot later this month.

The dual Champion Chase hero lost his Cheltenham crown last season and many questioned whether he would ever be the same again.

But a breathing operation during the summer appears to have worked the oracle as he was brilliant on his Ascot reappearance and again in the rearranged Tingle Creek at Cheltenham last month.

“He seems to like Ascot. I think he likes going left-handed and right-handed, but he certainly likes going right-handed there,” said Smith.

“After the cracked rib he just never quite back to his best last season, but he’s in much better shape now.

“I was very pleased with him at Cheltenham and we’ll see how he gets on at Ascot.”

The eight-year-old showed during his comeback victory in the Amlin 1965 Chase that he stays two miles and three furlongs well, and Smith has not ruled out the possibility of stepping him up further in trip later in his career.

“Most horses seems to stay a bit further when they get older and we’re hoping he will,” Smith told At The Races.

“We’ll see how we go with him. The Champion Chase is the top priority, but we might try him over further later on.”

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Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

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