Nicholls banking on Master class
Paul Nicholls wants Master Minded to show he can still consistently produce top-class performances by claiming Saturday's Keith Prowse Hospitality Tingle Creek Chase at Cheltenham.
The seven-year-old was an unstoppable force in his first couple of seasons in Britain, twice winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase, but his last campaign did not go so well and he could only finish fourth when defending his crown.
He looked back to his brilliant best on his recent return to action at Ascot, and Nicholls said: "I'm very happy with him and we've had no problems since then. Hopefully he'll be hard to beat and it would be nice to see him put two races together."
Nicholls has also declared dual Tingle Creek winner Twist Magic, but he is expected to take his chance in Sunday's totesport.com Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon instead.
Kalahari King was not in the original line-up at Sandown last weekend, but the switch to Cheltenham has prompted Ferdy Murphy to let him take his chance.
The trainer said: "He has had three runs at Cheltenham - fourth in the Supreme Novices', second in the Arkle and third in the Champion Chase, so he likes the place. He wasn't so good around Sandown last year, so when the race was moved it was a no-brainer.
"He was a little bit tired after the race at Kelso last time but he has come out of it well. He has been on the beach six of the last eight days and he really comes alive there.
"He seems in great form and Graham (Lee) was in on Thursday and was thrilled with his schooling. I think he'll run really well. He is a better horse in the spring, but he is well enough to do himself justice."
David Pipe saddles an interesting contender in Celebration Chase hero I'm So Lucky, who has been off the track since that April success.
The trainer said: "He won well at Sandown at the end of last season and the better the ground, the better for him. He's got to improve on official ratings, but he's always been a very good horse and hopefully he can run a decent race."