Leading Ryanair Chase hope Waiting Patiently to miss festival
Waiting Patiently will not run in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham despite the forecast of plenty of rain in the run-up to next week's festival.
"He does need time between his races," said owner Richard Collins on Sunday. "He will definitely miss Cheltenham. That's the decision we have made as we feel it will come just too quickly for him after his Ascot run."
Waiting Patiently, who was runner-up, although beaten 17 lengths, behind Cyrname in the Ascot Chase last month, was a best-priced 8-1 behind 3-1 favourite Min for the Grade 1 chase on the Thursday of the festival.
Cheltenham's loss could be a gain for Aintree or Punchestown, while a trip to Auteuil for the Prix La Barka in May, or even the French Champion Hurdle in June, were revealed as other options.
"We know we will get his ground there [in France] either in May or June and he won't run on ground like Ascot again," added Collins.
"Willie Mullins has done well in the French races, including with such as Un De Sceaux. We'll look at Aintree first for his next race, and there's Punchestown as well."
Reflecting on Waiting Patiently's Ascot second to Cyrname, who became the top-rated horse in training above Altior after his victory, Collins questioned the handicapper's appraisal.
"I thought it was embarrassing to put Cyrname in front of Altior, who has won eight Grade 1s," he said.
"Ascot was Cyrname's ground and if you look at the three behind, we all need cut in the ground. I walked from the second-last with Ruth [Jefferson] and wasn't for running him, but Brian [Hughes] said it was soft enough.
"Brian said he had felt better in the King George, and while he didn't need the race, he did in that he hadn't had a competitive race for 12 months."
Ascot was officially good to soft and the Ascot Chase was run in a time just 2.5sec slower than Racing Post standard time.
Cheltenham remained good ground on Sunday, with a GoingStick reading of 7.0.
Simon Claisse, clerk of the course, said: "We haven't had a lot of rain this weekend so far but there's plenty of rain forecast to come before next week.
"There are bits and pieces of rain right through to the end of the meeting on Friday week, but that's a long-range forecast and short-term there's plenty forecast.
"There is 3-5mm of rain forecast most days and that would be ideal to give consistent ground and produce a lovely surface.
"If the forecast is right it would be good to soft, and might end with soft in places."
The cross-country course has often ridden a shade quicker than the traditional courses but Claisse added: "When we did some watering the week before last we put more on the cross-country, which is why the ground is good on all courses."
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