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Master Minded wins Tingle Creek Chase at Cheltenham

Noel Fehily on Master Minded
Fehily gave Master Minded a masterful ride at Cheltenham

Master Minded jumped supremely to claim the Tingle Creek Chase for a second time and give trainer Paul Nicholls his sixth successive win in the race.

With Noel Fehily on board, the 10-11 favourite overtook Petit Robin two fences from home to ease to an eight-length victory at Cheltenham.

Petit Robin, ridden by Barry Geraghty, had set a blistering early pace with I'm So Lucky and hung on for second.

Somersby, ridden by Hadden Frost, took third in the rearranged two-miler.

Last weekend's bad weather at Sandown had resulted in the postponement of the Grade One chase, and the switch to the scene of his two Queen Mother Champion Chase victories suited Master Minded perfectly.

Tom Scudamore had steered I'm So Lucky to the front early on, Petit Robin soon moving up to dispute the lead as Fehily, leading the main pack, bided his time.

606: DEBATE

And when Petit Robin left a tiring I'm So Lucky behind four out, Fehily made his move - eventually hitting the front at the second-last before powering clear of his rivals.

"He's electric, he jumped brilliantly again," said Fehily of Master Minded, also a winner in 2008. "There was so much pace early on and I was slightly worried at one stage, but I was so sure they had gone too fast and so I sat for a while.

"He really picked them up. He's very good and has so much class. He was brilliant over the last, he's such a good jumper."

Meanwhile, Menorah boosted his Champion Hurdle credentials by sprinting clear of two of his expected rivals in the prestigious Festival race to give jockey Richard Johnson his second victory in the International Hurdle.

Philip Hobbs' 7-4 favourite looked in trouble when Silviniaco Conti, ridden by Fehily, and Clerk's Choice took it up three out, with Cue Card in tow.

But the five-year-old Menorah produced a sensational turn of foot two out before jumping well clear at the last to win by four-and-a-half lengths from Cue Card (15-8), who pipped Nicholls' Silviniaco Conti (5-2) to second.

Some bookmakers immediately cut Menorah as the new 7-2 market leader for the Champion, and trainer Hobbs said: "We'll have to go for the Champion Hurdle and whether he runs again before that I don't know, we'll have to think about it."

Cue Card trainer Colin Tizzard said he will wait until Christmas before deciding if his third-placed finisher runs in March. "He'll have one more run in February somewhere," Tizzard added.

And Nicholls revealed his plans for Silviniaco Conti, saying: "He'll run in a trial somewhere like Wincanton or Haydock and then go for the Champion Hurdle probably. We've got nothing else to aim for really."

Earlier, Nicholls had made it a Cheltenham four-timer when 2009 winner Poquelin became the first horse to win the December Gold Cup twice.

Despite carrying a top weight of 11st 12lb, less jockey Ian Popham's 5lb claim, Poquelin took up the running approaching the second-last.

And when he was joined by Timmy Murphy's mount Great Endeavour, Poquelin - a 16-1 shot - prevailed to take it by a length. Sunnyhillboy stayed on from a mile back for third with Calgary Bay fourth.

Sam Twiston-Davies had set a stiff early pace on Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Little Josh but he faded to finish fifth.


Cheltenham 1355
1 Master Minded (N Fehily) 10-11f
2 Petit Robin (B J Geraghty) 6-1
3 Somersby (H Frost) 13-2
9 ran

Cheltenham 1430
1 Poquelin (Ian Popham) 16-1
2 Great Endeavour (T J Murphy) 13-2
3 Sunnyhillboy (R P McLernon) 9-1
16 ran

Cheltenham 1505
1 Menorah (R Johnson) 7-4f
2 Cue Card (J Tizzard) 15-8
3 Silviniaco Conti (N Fehily) 5-2
9 ran



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see also
Big Zeb lands Champion Chase win
17 Mar 10 |  Horse Racing
Master Minded romps to Chase win
11 Mar 09 |  Horse Racing
Master Minded triumphs at Sandown
06 Dec 08 |  Horse Racing
Master Minded powers to Chase win
13 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
BBC racing coverage
09 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing


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