We went to visit racing trainer, Ruth Jefferson, as her stable star Waiting Patiently prepares for his seasonal reappearance in the 32Red King George VI steeple chase on Boxing Day. Ruth shared with us that he seems to be in fine form ahead of one of the biggest races in the festive calendar.
In this video Ruth Jefferson shares Waiting Patiently’s progress ahead of the Winter Festival:
On the day Jefferson said:
“I am really pleased with him. He’s looked great since he has come in. He’d had a lovely summer on the grass and he looked fab when he came back. Since then he has never really given us a moment’s worry.
“We had a touch of an injury that we needed to monitor, but he has done everything that we wanted him to do and he has just come along the way we wanted him to come along, so I am really happy with him.”
Waiting Patiently is currently second favourite for the 32Red King George and is defending an unbeaten six-race record over fences.
Talking about the Ascot Chase in February, Jefferson commented:
“He came back from Ascot and - whether it was because he had a hard race I don’t know - he just didn’t look how I wanted him to look, so I backed off him and said we would probably end up giving Cheltenham a miss and head to Aintree.
“We gave him a little bit of time off and then got him going again and I just wasn’t happy with one of his legs one day - there was a little injury there so we had to stop. He came back in at the end of July and it has never given us a moment’s worry.”
In preparation for the Boxing Day race, Jefferson took Waiting Patiently for an away day to Hexham racecourse, partnered by race day jockey Brian Hughes, where he jumped four fences. Jefferson was very pleased with what she saw:
“It was just to get him away from home, if he wanted to be keen or do anything daft - he never has - but it just gave him that day.
“He did just short of a mile. He went down a bit buzzy and gave the first a little bit of air, but then just popped the next three and settled in behind his lead horse. He did everything right.”
This will be the first time that Waiting Patiently will run over three miles but Jefferson is confident he will handle the step up in trip.
“It’s not a worry to me because I think he will stay, but until he does I suppose you don’t know do you. A lot of good horses will be effective over every trip won’t they. He has got speed, he has got stamina, probably his biggest asset is his ability to switch off in a race and not do too much too early which will help him see out the trip.
“What impressed us at Ascot wasn’t just that he switched off, they went a hell of a gallop round Ascot with Cue Card, but when Brian said will you go… off he went. He has got to do that over three miles but he has obviously got a nice cruising speed, a nice turn of foot and if he stays as well he has got all the attributes of a very good horse.”