The injury-prone 10-year-old is looking for his first victory since landing the Grade One Ascot Chase at the Berkshire track three years ago.
However, his last five runs have all been at jump racing’s elite level and he has been either second or third under champion jockey Brian Hughes.
Today’s three-mile Betway Bowl is no less competitive with dual King George winner Clan Des Obeaux and 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Native River in the line up.
There is also the added dimension of dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll lining up in this contest rather than Saturday’s feature.
“Hopefully, they have done a good job with watering and it is safe ground,” said Malton-based Jefferson last night. “The horse is fine. He seems quite happy with himself and my job is done.”
She said the Richard Collins-owned chaser, known as ‘Pat’, suffered a small niggle in the wake of his third-place finish in Ascot’s Clarence House Chase in January.
“The thing with horses like Pat is that they don’t come along very often,” added Jefferson. “Even Dad [the trainer’s late father Malcolm] only had the odd Grade One horse in all those years. He’s a fragile horse that isn’t over-raced.
“That’s why we ran him in the Clarence House so soon after the King George – he was fit, healthy and sound. We have to take our chances when we can.”
Rachael Blackmore, the Cheltenham Festival leading rider, will ride Minella Times for trainer Henry de Bromhead and owner JP McManus in the National.
The horse is likely to be one of seven in the race for McManus as de Bromhead and Blackmore look to build on their recent domination of Cheltenham.
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