Replay - Master Minded wins Victor Chandler Chase
Top-rated chaser Master Minded cruised to an emphatic victory in the Grade One Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot.
The 1-4 favourite, ridden by Ruby Walsh, eased ahead at fence four and crossed 16-lengths clear of 6-1 shot Petit Robin, with Mahogany Blaze third.
"He's an incredible horse, everything is so easy. He's better than a machine, he's an aeroplane," Walsh enthused.
The six year old is generally priced 3-1 on to retain the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.
Having been given an armchair ride by a horse who appeared to be having as much fun as his connections, Walsh said: "The way he jumps is just amazing, he can jump high into the air and not lose any ground."
Desert Orchid Chase runner-up Petit Robin had tried to lay down a challenge in the early stages but jockey Barry Geraghty soon realised that was a fruitless task.
For a brief moment David Pipe's new recruit Or Noir De Somoza looked threatening but he was also left struggling from the third-last onwards.
And in the end Walsh only had to nudge his mount along to score an impressive victory.
Walsh added: "I wasn't sure how I was going turning into the straight but I gave him a squeeze and he kicked into another gear and I was half sorry I did that.
Master Minded is incredible - Walsh
"It's great to be back on board him, I'd rather be riding him than watching him, that's for sure."
Trainer Paul Nicholls reported favourably on Master Minded's recovery from the race the following day.
"He's absolutely fine. It was brilliant, everything was right and we are looking forward to Cheltenham with him now," said Nicholls.
He will run once more before the Queen Mother - in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury on 7 February.
Should he win at Cheltenham he will be the first horse since Viking Flagship in 1995 to successfully defend the two-mile showpiece.