Master Minded was Ruby Walsh's third straight win on day two of the Festival
Reigning champion and hot favourite Master Minded cruised to victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase on day two of the Cheltenham Festival.
Paul Nicholls's six-year-old was never seriously troubled and finished seven lengths clear of veteran Well Chief.
Ruby Walsh rode a perfect race on board Master Minded to make it a hat-trick after he had earlier guided Mikael D'Haguenet and Cooldine to wins.
"He's the best chaser around, he wasn't as good as he can be," said Walsh.
"He's just a very good horse. On different days he's been better but that shows he's so good.
"It shows he can still win when he's not at his best. He's a very special horse."
Clive Smith, Master Minded's owner, added: "It's just unbelievable. Pleased as punch, can't say any more."
Master Minded has already been installed as the 4-7 favourite to emulate Badsworth Boy with a third success next year and champion trainer Nicholls said: "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 before today. You only get him ready to perform at a level you think.
"He's got a little lazy now because he does everything so easily. He jumps great and does everything really well, but what a wonderful run by Well Chief."
There was drama at the start of the race as an over-eager Marodima caused two false starts, but once the tape went up legitimately there was only ever going to be one outcome.
However, it looked harder work than 12 months ago as the 10-year-old Well Chief, unraced since April 2007, and Petit Robin valiantly battled into second and third respectively, although the margin of victory was still impressive.
The winner was Walsh's third of the day and the 29-year-old Irishman was at his best on board
as he finished 16 lengths clear of 66-1 chance Horners Wood in the RSA Chase.
Willie Mullins' 9-4 favourite was always close to the pace and after Carruthers, who had been travelling well, hit the second fence from home he romped clear.
Things had got off to the best possible start for the Irish pairing as Walsh timed his run on
to perfection to win the Ballymore Hurdle for Mullins.
He came under pressure late on from Tony McCoy's mount Karabak, but the five-year-old looked comfortable and Mullins was keen to talk up his chances as a future Gold Cup contender.
Another Irish-trained horse won the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle later in the day as
romped home, while Sam Waley-Cohen guided
to an impressive victory in the opening race of the day, finishing 10 lengths clear of Drumconvis.
claimed victory in the day's penultimate race, the Juvenile Novices' Handicap Hurdle, while the day finished with yet another Irish winner in the form of
in the Champion Bumper NH Flat Race.
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