King George VI Chase a likely long-term objective for Waiting Patiently

Sun 18 Feb 2018

By staff

Ruth Jefferson reiterated that Waiting Patiently is far from certain to line up at next month's Cheltenham Festival the morning after his emotional success in the Ascot Chase.

Just 24 hours on from the funeral of his late trainer Malcolm Jefferson, the seven-year-old extended his unbeaten record over fences to six with a tremendous display in the hands of Brian Hughes, who pointed to the skies after passing the post comfortably ahead of the admirable Cue Card.

Jefferson, who took over the licence following her father's death two weeks ago and saddled her first winner when Cyrus Darius won Thursday's Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso, was understandably thrilled by Waiting Patiently's performance.

She said: "He's home safe, he's eaten up and he's been out on the walker this morning. He seems absolutely fine.

"He did what we wanted him to do yesterday. Everything went well and I don't know how to describe it, to be honest.

"He just goes when you ask him, doesn't he? He must be a joy to ride. There's no wonder Brian doesn't want to let anyone else ride him!"

Waiting Patiently is joint-favourite with last year's winner Un De Sceaux for the Ryanair Chase with some bookmakers, but Jefferson remains lukewarm on the idea of a trip to Prestbury Park.

"It was only the ninth run of his life on Saturday and he's only seven, which is why we're probably the only ones not that bothered about Cheltenham," said the Norton-based trainer.

"We're not going to tie ourselves down to anything at the moment. We'll see how he is and what the ground is like at the confirmation stage and go from there.

"He only ran three times last season and he's not a horse who puts on weight quickly after he runs.

"There's also just a slight suspicion that he's better on flatter tracks and there's no hiding place at Cheltenham.

"I'm not saying we'll never go there, but if we're not 100 per cent happy we won't go."

Should Waiting Patiently bypass Cheltenham, he is likely to have options at Aintree and Punchestown in the spring, while Jefferson also has her eyes on some major prizes next season - namely the King George VI Chase at Kempton.

"He could run again this season, but it won't be the end of the world for us if he doesn't and there are races we're looking at next season," Jefferson added.

"It's an easy three miles at Kempton and he's settling better now, so you would like to think he'd stay and he has form on the track."

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