AFTER Kauto Star’s King George eclipse last weekend, Tony McCoy teams up with another Paul Nicholls superstar, MASTER MINDED (2.25), in the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot on Saturday and I don’t envisage any slip-ups. Sidelined Noel Fehily gave Master Minded two flawless rides when romping home at Ascot and Cheltenham earlier in the season, while regular rider Ruby Walsh steered Master Minded to a 16-length romp over Petit Robin in the 2009 running of the race. So, there is a bit of pressure on McCoy to deliver the goods here but it should be plain sailing over a course Master Minded clearly enjoys.
David Pipe has his string in impressive form and French import NOTUS DE LA TOUR (2.55) should go well in the Chandler-sponsored Grade 2 hurdle. Pipe has quickly stepped Notus De La Tour up in class after he ran second in the Fred Winter Juveniles’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March and the five-year-old has scope for more improvement this season.
Hopefully, Haydock will pass its morning inspection, with PEDDLERS CROSS (2.05) continuing his Champion Hurdle preparation in this four-runner affair which sees the reappearance after a long absence of Alan King’s 2009 Triumph Hurdle runner-up Walkon. At a bigger price, MAKTU (3.15) must go well in the Peter Marsh Chase after finding the Welsh National too much of a slog at Chepstow. Maktu jumped and travelled superbly that day, if a little too keen for his own good, and this three-mile trip looks ideal.
At Lingfield, TRANSFORMER (4.15) is worth an interest now stepping up to 12 furlongs. Willie Jarvis’ five-year-old has an excellent record here (form figures of 221 on his last three visits) and he found only Lingfield Bound too strong last Saturday.