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Cheltenham Festival 2011 

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By Marc Owen-Banks ValueChecker

Somersby Heads for Queen Mother Champion Chase

Speaking to Matt Chapman on At The Races yesterday, Oxfordshire based trainer Henrietta Knight confirmed that last years Arkle runner up will be going for the Queen Mother Champion Chase alongside Master Minded and Big Zeb, rather than stepping up in trip for the Ryanair.



This is important news, as the horse still remains in many firms' Ante-post books, where stakes will not be refunded in the event of him not running!

Knight conceded that whilst many experts have suggested the 7yo gelding who ran Master Minded very close in the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot last month may benefit for a step up in trip, the Cheltenham Festival is not the place to be testing theories. The way he finished at Ascot, closing on Paul Nicholls' Master Minded with every stride to go down just a short head, leaves Knight vindicated in her thinking. And what a mouth-watering prospect the clash of the pair in the Champion Chase will be along with last years winner Big Zeb.

Somersby continues to improve for every run, whilst Master Minded has yet to reproduce the level of form shown in the 2008 renewal of the big race, or indeed the form shown in the winter of 2008 with the Tingle Creek and the 2009 Victor Chandler Chase races. Whilst winning the 2009 Queen Mother it was not to the same level, and in 2010 he could manage only fourth behind Big Zeb, Forpadydeplasterer and Kalahari King went again sent off the odds on favourite. Last year champion Big Zeb's consistency also adds to the spice for this race.

Somersby, now confirmed to be lining up in the race, barring injury, is a worthwhile each-way ante-post bet. Paddy Power go an outstanding 8/1 best price.

Master Minded can be backed at 5/2 with Stan James.

Big Zeb fans who fancy him doing a Masterminded double in the race can find Ladbrokes offering 7/2.

Recommendation: SOMERSBY (each-way) with Paddy Power @ 8/1


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