We all doubted him, we all said it was practically a walkover for Master Minded but as Martin Pipe used to say “Never be afraid of just one horse!” What will become of the value of the 2011 Old Roan Chase is anybody’s guess at this early stage of the season. However what remains apparent is that Albertas Run really is one of the most underrated horses in training. The drying ground would have certainly helped his cause and connections have stated that he will not run on winter soft this term. A return to three miles is not out of the question, he is of course an RSA winner and a Reynoldstown winner. I would say its more than likely we will see Albertas Run back to defend his Ryanair crown at Cheltenham in March, if he were to win that for the third time, you’ll find me in orbit over Prestbury Park.
They say a week is a long time in politics, seemingly it is in Racing too as what a difference a week made to Pure Faith. Exactly seven days after finishing a 20/1 fourth in a six runner Cheltenham Novice Chase he ran the race of his life to go down fighting by a length to Albertas Run and beating a dual Champion Chaser in Master Minded by seven lengths. Yes Pure Faith does like Aintree, he scored there in May and whilst that would have added another string to his bow, to run like he did when 22lbs out of the handicap is quite something. It will be interesting to see what his new handicap mark is and indeed where he is campaigned next.
Master Minded was reportedly working in fantastic fashion in the lead up to this race and understandably the Nicholls stable are slightly disappointed with this showing. However in an interview with RTE his owner Clive Smith said that maybe Paul Nicholls had underestimated his lack of fitness. This seems to be backed up with Georgie Nicholls saying after the race that the horse was only 90% fit. Whatever the reasons it would be dangerous to write him off. Look back to his nine length defeat of Albertas Run in the Melling Chase in April where he was still on the bridle approaching the last, its clear that the talent that awarded him two Champion Chase crowns is still there. This latest effort certainly does not put me off backing him for the King George on Boxing Day.
Cathryn Fry – 23 October 2011
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