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There was some tremendous racing at Ascot on Saturday and the highlight was the two-horse tussle at the end of the Victor Chandler Chase.
Master Minded was sent off as 4/7 favourite, with Tony McCoy looking to make amends for the disappointing run on Kauto Star a week ago. However, the jolly was pushed all the way by Somersby, who is an interesting price to win the Queen Mother at the Cheltenham Festival.
The Henrietta Knight-trained horse has always been highly-rated and stamina is clearly a key strength of the charge, although connections have always pondered over whether to run the horse over two miles or three miles.
Knight said: "Somersby gets on well at Cheltenham but I don't know which race he will go for at the moment. He is probably more likely to go for the Ryanair Chase as things stand but it all depends on the ground, which other horses are going for the race and what happens between now and then.
Considering how well Somersby managed a flat two miles at Ascot, it could just be that he produces an excellent performance in the Champion Chase and bet365's 10/1 could be a cracking bit of each-way value.
As for Master Minded, the horse took his prize winnings to over £1 million with the victory at Ascot and is currently the 5/2 favourite with Paddy Power to win the Queen Mother for the third occasion, having triumphed in 2008 and 2009.
Ruby Walsh will be back on board come March, although the horse did fail to win the same race twelve months ago and the winner that day was Big Zeb.
Big Zeb is currently available at 3/1 (Blue Square) to retain his crown and the champion will run at Punchestown later this month in a bid to have perfect preparation before the Wednesday showpiece at the Cheltenham Festival.
Meanwhile, Woolcombe Folly is a 7/1 shot with William Hill and Sizing Europe looks set to be included in this race, with Ladbrokes offering 11/1 that the Henry de Bromhead-trained charge follows up last year’s Arkle win with an even bigger victory at the Cheltenham Festival.
“We’re looking at our Cheltenham options, but our first task is to find him a suitable warm-up race for the festival,” De Bromhead said. “That looks like being at the end of January or the start of February. After that we’ll look at Cheltenham again.
“He’s in mighty form and we’re keen to get a prep run into him. But, in terms of the festival, we’re keen on keeping our options open,” he added.