15.20 Cheltenham – Master Minded can regain Cheltenham crown

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Much has been made of the likes of Somersby and Woolcombe Folly in this year’s Champion Chase but in the most prestigious two-mile chase, class is the key.

Both Master Minded and Big Zeb have been, at times, below par this season and that is why they are battling for favouritism at the top of the Champion Chase betting.

Big Zeb looks like he might just edge the favouritism come race time, but is backable now at 11/4 while Master Minded is 10/2.

But after Golden Silver (10/1) got the better of Big Zeb on the third time of asking at Punchestown in January, questions are being asked and while Master Minded under-performed when beating Somersby (7/1) at Ascot, he still managed to hold on for victory.

Admittedly Master Minded was poor last year but three victories since, including a performance at Ascot in November which blew away the competition, the Paul Nicholls-trained eight-year-old is the one to beat.

Woolcombe Folly also represents Paul Nicholls in the Champion Chase and after posting a faster time over two miles than Master Minded this season, many people are looking at the young pretender as a possible dark horse at 7/1.

However Woolcombe Folly is yet to run at the Cheltenham Festival and 19 of the last 26 runners placed at the Festival before.

Other trends to follow are the last 12 Arkle winners to take their chance in this race – Sizing Europe (8/1) – have all placed at worse.

8/1 is a big each –way price for Sizing Europe and the price could be a lot shorter by the time the race goes off at 3.20pm.

With 28 of the last 29 winners all starting at no bigger than 11/1, any shortening of the odds would be in the backers favour and it’s worth keeping an eye on the market movers in this race.

A £20 stake on Master Minded winning the Champion Chase would return £86.67. New customers can sign up here for a free bet worth £60.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.