Master Minded shadowed by Noir

David Pipe has threatened to throw the cat among the pigeons by running a French superstar against the long odds-on Master Minded in Saturday's Victor Chandler Chase.

Master Minded is quoted at 1-4 for the Ascot showpiece but the maximum of seven rivals that Paul Nicholls' brilliant young chaser will face includes Or Noir De Somoza, who was high class when trained in France and is soon to make his debut in Britain for the Pipe stable.

An intriguing addition to Pipe's strength, the seven-year-old has won 13 of his 20 starts in France with most victories achieved in top-level events at Auteuil. "He is an exciting horse. His best form is probably at two and a half miles but two-one round Ascot should suit; he looks nice," says Pipe.

"He's got top-class form in France and I'm really looking forward to seeing him on a racecourse. He's been entered in everything at Cheltenham from the Queen Mother to the Gold Cup and it will be interesting to see how he races in this country," he told the At The Races channel.

Irish property multi-millionaire Sean Mulryan – a leading owner on the French jumps circuit – sent Or Noir De Somoza to the Wellington yard in October with a view to having him trained specifically for a race at the Cheltenham Festival.

"This horse is top class and has only been out of the frame twice in 20 starts so – I hope – the sky's the limit with him," Pipe added. "I have yet to confirm with the owners where he will start off in this country."

Or Noir De Somoza, one of the most exciting prospects to come out of France for some time, has not run since the French Gold Cup in May and the Somerset trainer could delay his charge's UK debut another week, until a Grade Two race at Cheltenham, over three miles (the Letheby & Christopher Chase). Pipe has, however, taken out of Saturday's race last year's winner Tamarinbleu and I'm So Lucky.

Nicholls, meanwhile, has left Natal in Sandown's Grade One event in addition to Master Minded who looked back to the form of his exhilarating Queen Mother Champion Chase win last March when he took the Tingle Creek at Sandown last month.

Nicky Henderson's Petit Robin, second in the Desert Orchid Chase behind German raider Fiepes Shuffle, is due to take his chance on Saturday. Nick Gifford's long-term absentee Killaghy Castle (formerly a leading novice), Philip Hobbs's Lord Henry, Nigel Twiston-Davies's Mahogany Blaze and Rebecca Curtis's Marodima complete the field.

Last year's winner Our Vic is among a 48-strong entry for the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham on 12 March. The 11-year-old became the first winner of the two mile, five furlong contest after it had been upgraded to Grade One status. He is one of three possibles from the Pipe stable, along with Tamarinbleu and Or Noir De Somoza."

Totesport have opened their book on this weekend's Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot and Master Minded has been installed as the red-hot favourite at 1-4. Paul Nicholls's crack chaser is currently the 2-5 favourite to defend his Champion Chase crown at Cheltenham in March.

Ebadiyan, a former John Oxx inmate, emerged yesterday as Ireland's leading hope for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March. He won the Punchestown Juvenile Hurdle with rider John Cullen always confident to win by an eased-down eight lengths.

William Hill were most impressed with the Oliver Brady-trained hurdler and go 8-1 from 20-1 for the Cheltenham event. Victor Chandler go 14-1 while Stan James are 14-1 from 25-1. Paddy Power are 12s from 25s.

Victor Chandler Chase (Sandown, Saturday: totesport ante-post odds): 1-4 Master Minded, 11-2 Petit Robin, 8-1 Or Noir de Somoza, 20-1 Lord Henry, Natal, 25-1 Mahogany Blaze, 50-1 Killaghy Castle, Marodima.

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

JavaScript Developer (Angular, Web Forms, HTML5, Ext JS,CSS3)

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: JavaScript Dev...

BC2

£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice