A fascinating contender has emerged as a threat in Boxing Day's feature contest.
Waiting Patiently could be the horse to watch over the course of the 2018/19 National Hunt campaign, and he will be looking to make a statement at the King George VI Chase. The Irish horse has won seven races on the bounce, although he has yet to take to the track in the current season.
He will face stiff competition from Might Bite and Native River at Kempton Park. However, Ruth Jefferson’s charge is considered one of the leading contenders for the meet, being backed at 6/1 in the King George race odds, although the winner of last season’s event, Might Bite, is still the strong favourite to repeat his success.
The seven-year-old made a breakthrough performance at the Novices' Chase at the start of 2017 at Haydock Park. Waiting Patiently put forward a solid run, breaking away from the race favourite Politologue down the stretch to claim the victory by one-and-a-quarter lengths. Jefferson’s charge was out of action for nine months, not participating at Cheltenham Festival due to injury.
He returned to action at Carlisle away from the mainstream. However, the Irish horse displayed no signs of rust on his comeback in the Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase. Waiting Patiently was the odds-on favourite and delivered with a steady performance against limited competition. With jockey Brian Hughes in the saddle, he manoeuvred his way through the field three fences out to take the lead. The seven-year-old used a burst to break away and claim a comfortable win by two-and-a-half lengths.
Waiting Patiently was not put forward for the major races at the turn of the year, appearing at the 32Red Casino Chase at Kempton Park. Hughes again judged the meet to perfection as he hung his charge back among the pack with a smooth ride. He made a surge for the lead two fences out and controlled the contest heading towards the final straight, cruising over the line ahead of Art Mauresque by eight lengths, highlighting his improvement on the track.
The Irish horse put forward his best performance of his career at the Ascot Chase in February 2018. He faced off against Cue Card in a tense battle, although Hughes got his charge off to another steady start to the contest. Waiting Patiently gradually moved through the field before he challenged Cue Card on the final fence. He used his pace to surge down the stretch to create clear distance between him and his rival, closing out the victory by two-and-a-quarter lengths.
Jefferson’s charge has not competed since February as he was not raced at Cheltenham in the Ryanair Chase due to injury. There are concerns over his fitness due to his inability to compete late into the campaign over the last two years. However, the seven-year-old will be fresh for the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park, which will be his biggest challenge yet. Might Bite, Native River and Bristol De Mai have competed this term and have quality pedigree. Jefferson will have to ensure that Waiting Patiently is operated at his peak come Boxing Day.
Article Posted on Monday 10th December 2018 @ 11.17
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