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King's charge Voy masterminds Melling success.

Byline: BY CHRIS WRIGHT Daily Post Staff

VOY POR USTEDES turned around a 19-length deficit with Master Minded from the Queen Mother Champion Chase in emphatic fashion to inflict a second big-race defeat on the Paul Nicholls-Clive Smith team in the John Smith's Melling Chase at Aintree yesterday.

Alan King's seven-year-old lost his Champion Chase crown to his younger rival at Cheltenham three weeks ago, but he showed the step up in trip to be ideal yesterday.

Under Robert Thornton Voy Por Ustedes (5-1) began to lock horns with the 2-5 favourite turning in after the front-running Tamarinbleu dropped away.

Following a big leap at the second last from Master Minded, he seemed to run out of steam under Ruby Walsh to allow Voy Por Ustedes to powered away and score by 18 lengths.

Having stepped up in trip from 2m to 2m4f yesterday, trainer King said he may possibly step Voy Por Ustedes up again to three miles, with the Stan James King George VI Chase, for which he was initially given quotes of 6-1 by the sponsors, a likely target at the end of the year.

King said: "You'd probably say Master Minded is a proper twomiler and we've always felt Voy Por might be better over further and I think that's been proved today.

"I'm so pleased for the horse, he's been very special to me all the way through. We'll go home and think about it but to my mind we'll continue over two and a half miles next year and probably look at the King George."

Nicholls's two big guns may have been beaten in Kauto Star and Master Minded, but he has been in fine form throughout the meeting as he teamed up with Walsh to score a 179-1 treble with wins for Big Buck's (11-4), Gwanako (7-1) and Peirrot Lunaire (5-1).

Of Master Minded, he said: "Pure and simple, he didn't stay.

"The mistake didn't help him, but Ruby said he was running on empty by that time anyway."

Master Minded is still the 6-4 favourite with William Hill and Paddy Power to defend his Champion Chase crown in 12 months.

Meanwhile two former Grand National-winning jockeys are expected to be fit to ride in today's Aintree showpiece despite falls in yesterday's John Smith's Topham Chase run over the National fences and won by Nicholls' Gwanako.

Tony Dobbin suffered a fall from Nacarat and was stood down for the day, While Mick Fitzgerald, who was on board another faller in Crozan, missed his last couple of rides later on yesterday.

Dobbin, due to retire from riding this Thursday, was successful in the National in 1997 on Lord Gyllene, and is expected to be fit to ride Pat Hughes's Point Barrow.

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Voy Por Ustedes and Robert Thornton jump the last
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 5, 2008
Words:485
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