Ruth Jefferson still has high hopes for Waiting Patiently

Waiting Patiently won last year's Grade One Ascot Chase under Brian Hughes for trainer Ruth Jefferson.
Waiting Patiently won last year's Grade One Ascot Chase under Brian Hughes for trainer Ruth Jefferson.
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RUTH JEFFERSON is still hopeful that top middle distance steeplechaser Waiting Patiently can win another Grade One race.

She was speaking after confirming she does not expect the top-class horse, owned by Richard Collins, to run again this season.

These are hard races to win and he was still competitive. We didn’t have the soft ground for much of the winter and then he was brought down at Kempton – he hasn’t had any luck.

Ruth Jefferson

Victorious in last season’s Ascot Chase at the highest level, injury delayed the Yorkshire horse’s comeback last Autumn.

On his reappearance, Waiting Patiently – the mount of Brian Hughes, the North’s leading jump jockey – was brought down by Bristol De Mai in Kempton’s King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.

Now eight, the lightly-raced horse was runner-up in this year’s Ascot Chase to the Paul Nicholls-trained Cyrname who put up a phenomenal front-running performance under Harry Cobden, before finishing third to the imperious Min, trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Ruby Walsh, in the JLT Chase at Aintree last week.

“Subject to speaking to the owner, I’m pretty sure we won’t run again this season,” Malton-based Jefferson told The Yorkshire Post.

“Nothing has gone right this season but he still managed to be second and third in Grade Ones when he hasn’t travelled, or jumped, as well as he has done in the past.

“At the same time, these are hard races to win and he was still competitive. We didn’t have the soft ground for much of the winter and then he was brought down at Kempton – he hasn’t had any luck.”

On the horse’s run at Aintree, Jefferson still believes Waiting Patiently could be just as effective over three miles – the King George trip – and hopes that the chaser will be back to his best by October when the 2019-20 National Hunt season begins in earnest.

“When he came to us, he was quite a keen horse who took a lot of settling.

“Nowadays, he is a far more relaxed horse who settles very well,” she added.

“It has been a bit of a funny year as he didn’t come in until late.

“He went to Kempton first time out which is something you don’t do apparently!

“He got brought-down and from then on, nothing has really gone the way we wanted.

“We’ve had a very dry winter and hopefully he’ll come in this year in July instead of August and he’ll start cantering straight away instead of going on the walker.

“We’ll therefore be ready for when those better races start popping up at the beginning of the season and then we’ll go from there.”

Enable is the star name among 26 entries for the Coronation Cup at Epsom on May 31.

John Gosden’s wonder-mare has won 10 of her 11 starts to date, including seven Group One victories – the first of which came over the Coronation Cup course and distance in the 2017 Investec Oaks.

The dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe heroine became the first horse to follow up victory in Paris with success at the Breeders’ Cup, and she looks set to make her first start since that historic Churchill Downs triumph at Epsom next month.

Gosden has also entered champion stayer Stradivarius, Winter Derby hero Wissahickon and high-class mares Coronet and Lah Ti Dar.

Aidan O’Brien is the most successful trainer in the history of the Coronation Cup, with eight victories.

This year, the Ballydoyle maestro has a seven-strong team at the first entry stage – including the last two winners of the St Leger, Capri and Kew Gardens, and top-class filly Magical.

Of Kew Gardens, O’Brien said: “He is in good form.

“The Coronation Cup is a race we are looking to aim him towards.”