The race however will have proved the biggest disappointment to 4-5 favourite Master Minded, his crew and the thousands of punters who were convinced that he would be victorious in his bid for a third consecutive Champion Chase. Had Master Minded won he would have equalled Badsworth Boy who completed a hat-trick of Champion Chase wins from 1983 - 85. Many were utterly convinced that the seven year old would pull it out of the bag following his victory in the Totepool Game Spirit Chase at Newbury in February when Walsh stayed in the saddle despite a pretty impressive stumble at the final fence.
Throughout the two mile race Master Minded never showed the same flair as he had done in his previous Champion Chase victories - he appeared to start under jockey Ruby Walsh at a reasonably strong pace, and he had a moment where he looked promising in third position as he raced up the last hill, but it was soon obvious that he was going to be well and truly beaten by Big Zeb and Forpadydeplasterer. Trainer of Master Minded Paul Nicholls admitted that 'we were beaten fair and square...he didn't perform at this best today', confessed that as a big heavy horse Master Minded doesn't like the drying ground and stops letting himself down. While the Nicholls yard may be disappointed Ruby Walsh said of the race: the horse has won two Champion Chases and today we have a new champion - that's what racing is all about. All very true, and the Nicholls/Walsh combo have more to give when it comes to this Cheltenham meeting with Kauto Star favourite for the highlight of the Festival - the Gold Cup.
While jockeys Walsh and Graham Lee; riding second favourite Kalahari King (9-2); were both looking uncomfortable throughout the race on their mounts, it was no surprise to anyone when Big Zeb and Forpadydeplasterer sped ahead to victory. Owner of Big Zeb, Patrick Joseph Redmond summed up his happiness by saying 'this is absolutely brilliant', but he is not the only one to be impressed with the horse - after winning the race with such complete and utter conviction William Hill have quoted him as 3-1 favourite to come back and win the race again next year.