Top marks for Jefferson's stable star Waiting Patiently

RUTH JEFFERSON'S stable star Waiting Patiently has been named as the top two-and-a-half mile chaser in Britain and Ireland.

Waiting Patiently and Brian Hughes (right) lead Cue Card and Paddy Brennan away from the last fence before going on to win the Ascot Chase.

The seven-year-old achieved a lofty rating of 170 in the annual Anglo-Irish Jump Classifications after defeating the now retired Cue Card in the Ascot Chase.

One of the races of the 2017-18 National Hunt season, it saw Waiting Patiently maintain his unbeaten record over fences on a tide of emotion under jockey Brian Hughes – the race came just 24 hours after the funeral of Jefferson’s much-missed father Malcolm who had previously trained the horse.

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Though Waiting Patiently missed Cheltenham, and then Aintree due to an injury, the Malton trainer reports the horse to be “doing well”.

“It’s nice to have the best two-and-a-half mile chaser in the country on ratings,” she told The Yorkshire Post.

“He’s doing well. He’s at home with his owner (Richard Collins) in a small paddock. It was an odd injury. It just needs a little bit of time, but he will be fine. He’s a lovely horse who is growing up all the time – one to look forward to.”

Meanwhile, Native River was announced as the highest-rated jumps horse of the 2017/18 season.

The Colin Tizzard-trained eight-year-old achieved a rating of 176 for his thrilling victory over Might Bite (172) in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. It puts him ahead of triple Gold Cup hero Best Mate (175), but marginally behind recent winners Don Cossack (177) and Bobs Worth (180).

Queen Mother Champion Chase victor Altior (175) gained top honours in the two-mile division.

In other news, North Yorkshire-based Danny Cook recorded his first win of the new season when Jamacho prevailed at Sedgefield for Malton’s Brian Ellison.

Guiseley trainer Sam England also recorded a welcome winner when My Renaissance, ridden by her husband Jonathan, prevailed.

Les Eyre has grand plans in mind for Dawaaleeb after he justified favouritism in the feature Westwood Handicap at Beverley.

The former Charlie Hills inmate was winning for the second time in just four outings for new connections. This was his first victory on the grass, though, and Eyre already has his eyes on a big summer target at York.

“He’s just a big, lazy thing –when he gets there, he thinks he’s done it – but he’s getting there now,” said the Beverley-based trainer. “There’s a big one in him, I’m sure of it. He’d have to win another one, but I’d like to run him in the John Smith’s Cup.”