By Racinguk.com staff
Ruth Jefferson saddled her first winner as a trainer as Cyrus Darius bolted up to repeat his victory of 12 months ago in the Timeform Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso.
The smart performer was of course trained by Jefferson's father, Malcolm, who died two weeks ago. His funeral is on Friday in Malton.
Jefferson has only saddled a handful of runners in her own name but it was perhaps fitting that one of the better horses in the yard would break her duck.
She told Racing UK: “I’m thrilled. After he ran in the Castleford Chase at Wetherby, Malcolm and I weren’t convinced that big-field handicaps were going to be his thing.
With the rating that he was on, however, there wasn’t any other options but big-field handicaps, so we made the decision to go back hurdling with this race in mind.
“We schooled him over hurdles a couple of weeks ago and it’s all come together perfectly today. Brian’s given him the perfect ride and he’s won really well."
A Grade Two winner as a novice, Cryrus Darius's chasing career has not reached the heights that once looked likely but back over the smaller obstacles, he looked in a different league to his three rivals.
The 5-2 chance travelled like a dream throughout for Brian Hughes and the heavy ground did not stop him pulling 12 lengths clear of Better Getalong.
“He’s not a bad chaser, he just doesn’t fiddle well," Jefferson said. "If he meets the fences right, he’s very good, but when he gets in a bit close, he can’t quite organise himself. You get some big horses like that.
“We thought we would look at some of these nice handicaps in the spring and give ourselves options.
“I’m not saying he will never go chasing again, but we’ll keep our options open. He will probably do a similar thing again next season. I don’t think we will run him over two miles again as 2m4f seems to suit him, and if he settles like he did today then he may even stay further. We wouldn’t be afraid to try."
She added: “Once the horses were switched into my name, I wanted to get that first winner off my back. I’ve been pleased with all the runners so far.
“It’s me and mum training now instead of Dad and Mum. Everyone’s seemed to have suggested they will support us and we’re hopeful that they will. We’ve got a nice team of horses, and a nice team of staff, so it would be nice for them if it continued."
Jefferson has been left with a yard in rude health, with the likes of Cloudy Dream, Mount Mews and the potentially top-class Waiting Patiently, who runs in the Grade One Ascot Chase on Saturday, among the stable stars.Waiting Patiently will contest the Ascot Chase on Saturday (Racingfotos)
She said: “We’re very lucky to have a nice bunch of young horses and some horses who have improved a lot this year, like Black Ivory.”
Waiting Patiently, unbeaten in five starts over fences, is a general 11-4 to win the Grade One Betfair Ascot Chase at Ascot on Saturday.
“He’s unbeaten over fences and you’d hope it will stay that way," Jefferson said. "It’s a true Grade One and I wouldn’t write off any of them. Even the outsider Traffic Fluide is coming back to conditions that suit. Cue Card could always pop up again and you wouldn’t write him off. He’s been a hell of a horse.
“It’s a tough ask, but we think we deserve our place in the line-up. We’re not going there expecting to win, but we’re hoping he will run a good race.”
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