Ruth Jefferson is hoping plenty rain hits Ascot over the next week, ahead of Waiting Patiently’s intended outing in the Matchbook Clarence House Chase on January 18.
The Grade One-winning nine-year-old returned to action with a staying-on third in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown last month, beaten just a length by Defi Du Seuil and Un De Sceaux.
With Altior ruled out on Tuesday by Nicky Henderson, the Clarence House looks like being a repeat of the Tingle Creek – and Jefferson expects her pride and joy to have sharpened up mentally more than physically for his first run of the season.
“Ascot is the plan, as long as we get enough rain – he needs soft ground,” said Jefferson on Wednesday.
“I took him to Richard Fahey’s this morning, we often take a few there as it just gets them away from home – out in the wagon and things for a change of scene.”
With Altior now confirmed as back in the two-mile division by Henderson and the Willie Mullins-trained Chacun Pour Soi beaten over Christmas, the picture now looks different since the Tingle Creek took place.
Jefferson said: “The way I see it is when you get to that level they are all very good horses. Not many expected us to run as well as we did in the Tingle Creek and it took people by surprise.
“Suddenly we are now back in their minds, as we’d been written off a bit. It was Chacun Pour Soi’s first run of the season and while Altior has had his issues, we know how good he is. They are not machines, you just have to take it one day at a time.
“I don’t think ours will come on in terms of fitness, as he’s not difficult to get fit and he’d been to Pontefract for a gallop, but just having a race will have mentally sharpened him. Nothing beats a race, so I do expect him to be sharper, but his fitness wasn’t an issue.
“There was little between the three at Sandown and I’d like to think if we get soft ground we’ll be bang there again.
“We can’t do anything about the weather. We’ve given him a lot of entries and we’ll see where we end up.”