One trainer, one jockey, one horse and one race to watch this Saturday
One trainer . . . Ruth Jefferson
Waiting Patiently was expertly handled by the late Malcolm Jefferson, earning himself a crack at Saturday's Betfair Ascot Chase after romping to victory at Kempton last time.
Now representing Jefferson’s daughter Ruth, who has taken over the running of Newstead Cottage Stables following her father’s death this month, Waiting Patiently would be a poignant, popular and hugely exciting winner of the Grade 1. Victory could also propel Jefferson's unbeaten chaser closer to the head of the Ryanair market, in which he's currently a best-priced 8-1.
Jefferson also has the talented Mount Mews in action at Ascot in the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase (1.50), making it a potentially big day for the trainer.
One jockey. . . Sam Twiston-Davies
Sam Twiston-Davies has opted for forgo the chance to ride in the Grade 1 Ascot Chase on Saturday and instead will head to Haydock, where he has a strong book of rides.
Chief among them is Blaklion, fourth in the Grand National last year and favourite for this season's race, who contests the Betfred Grand National Trial just days after his trainer, Sam's father Nigel Twiston-Davies, compared his charge to the great Red Rum himself.
One horse . . . Gold Present
Champion trainer Nicky Henderson has won most races over jumps, and a good few contests on the Flat as well, but one race continues to elude him: the Randox Health Grand National.
In Gold Present, he could have the horse to end his luckless run. Unbeaten in two starts this term, including when thumping Ascot Chase-bound Frodon, Gold Present was handed 11st when the National weights were unveiled this week and is currently 20-1 for the Aintree spectacular.
Henderson's National hope gets the chance to showcase his credentials in the Keltbray Swinley Chase at Ascot (2.25). If he carries top weight to victory, all eyes will be firmly focused on Aintree in April for him.
One race . . . Betfair Ascot Chase
You need only take a quick look at the past winners of the Betfair Ascot Chase (3.35) to see how good a contest it has been over the years, and this season’s race looks no different.
Leading the way, in terms of public recognition at least, is 12-year-old Cue Card, twice a winner of this race and reunited with old friend Paddy Brennan for one of his final starts before retirement at the end of the season.
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