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'We're not afraid to run him' - Waiting Patiently set for King George return

Waiting Patiently: has not run since finishing third in last season's Tingle Creek
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Another long wait to see Waiting Patiently is almost over as the talented but fragile chaser is poised to return from a year off in the Ladbrokes King George, with trainer Ruth Jefferson insisting she is not scared of running her stable star at Kempton or anywhere else.

Waiting Patiently, winner of the Grade 1 Ascot Chase in 2018, has had an injury-blighted career and has raced only three times since being virtually brought down in the King George two years ago.

Off the track since a closing third in last season's Tingle Creek, the Richard Collins-owned nine-year-old was ruled out of the rest of the campaign after requiring surgery to a chipped joint.

Kempton's Boxing Day entries

The versatile Waiting Patiently will take a big step up to three miles in Saturday's King George, a distance he has tried only once before when being badly hampered and unseating Brian Hughes halfway through Kempton's Christmas showpiece in 2018.

Jefferson said: "The plan is to go to Kempton. He's very well in himself. We took him for an away-day and Brian has been very happy with his schooling.

"We couldn't see a lot of races before Kempton that weren't getting too close to the King George and I think he's going there in as good a form as he did two years ago.

"Through no fault of his own we didn't find out if he stays then, so we're trying again. He's shown he's fast enough for two miles and I can't guarantee he'll stay, but he's won on bottomless ground at Ascot over two miles five furlongs.

"He settles in his races and the trip might be irrelevant to him and so long as he can get his toe in at Kempton, we'll be happy."

Ruth Jefferson with Waiting Patiently at her Malton stable

Waiting Patiently, a general 25-1 shot for the King George, has raced only 13 times in five years and Jefferson admits she has to be precise in selecting his targets. 

"We only got one run out of him last season and you can't deny he's fragile," the trainer said. "People might have thought I was a bit mad dropping him to two miles in the Tingle Creek, but he ran a huge race and nearly won it.

"It was frustrating to go so close as we're not a huge yard and don't have many Grade 1 performers.

"The thing that irritates me is when people say we're afraid to run him, as that's not the case. He's a fragile horse who we don't get many runs out of and, as we can't run him often, we try to pick where we've got the best chance of getting the best out of him."

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He's very well in himself. We took him for an away-day and Brian has been very happy with his schooling
E.W. Terms