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  Nicholls admits Master Minded mistake  

Paul Nicholls has admitted that he made a mistake in running Master Minded in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree on Saturday.

The eight-year-old finished last of the three runners at the Merseyside track on his seasonal reappearance. Despite going off short odds-on favourite, he was beaten by not only Albertas Run, but the outsider of the race Pure Faith, who was 22 pounds out of the handicap. Those looking at the online betting tips will have been shocked by the result.

With the help of hindsight, Nicholls believes he should have saved him for Ascot to run in the Amlin Chase, the race he won last season on his opening start.

Despite the result, the champion trainer is confident that his runner will have benefited from the race and will only get better as the season progresses.

Paul Nicholls explained the reason for switching from Ascot to Aintree was to give Ruby Walsh the chance to take the ride before the big races followed later in the campaign.

“The original plan was to run him at Ascot but we wanted Ruby to ride so ran him at Aintree instead,” he said.

"He jumped a little hesitantly and right-handed but when he reappeared last year it was a month further down the line and he was fitter. He'll improve tons for that and Cheltenham is way down the line."

Master Minded may get a shot at the King George this season at Kempton on Boxing Day, where he could line up against stable mate Kauto Star, in which both horses are owned by Clive Smith. The eight-year old has never ran at Kempton before, but the right-handed course is likely to suit the Nicholls-trained runner.

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