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Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

'You have to get on with it' – Jefferson shrugs off blow of losing three stars

Ruth Jefferson: won the Grade 1 Ascot Chase last season with Waiting Patiently
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Waiting Patiently indeed. The leading King George VI Chase contender's name perfectly sums up Ruth Jefferson's calm response to the blow of losing three of her best horses.

Grade 1 winner Waiting Patiently is back in training at Newstead Cottage in Malton and could return to action in November. But Cyrus Darius, whose Morebattle Hurdle victory at Kelso on the eve of her father Malcolm's funeral last February was Jefferson's emotional first winner, has gone to Colin Tizzard.


Poignant moment: Ruth Jefferson saddles her first winner as a trainer at Kelso


And Trevor Hemmings' Cloudy Dream, a runner-up four times in Grade 2 company last season, and Mount Mews have joined Donald McCain.

Jefferson admitted that the loss of that pair had not come out of the blue and said on Sunday: "I had it in the back of my mind that I maybe wasn't expecting those horses back. If Mr Hemmings felt they'd be better off elsewhere then it's his right to move the horses.

"It's the same with Cyrus Darius, if owners wish to move their horses it's entirely up to them, best of luck.

"It's a blow to lose any horse and the higher the calibre the more of a blow it is, but these sort of situations are outside your control, you just have to get on with it."

Jefferson, who landed the Ascot Chase with Richard Collins' Waiting Patiently two days after Cyrus Darius triumphed, accentuated the positives as she looked ahead to the core 2018-19 season.


Watch Waiting Patiently win the Ascot Chase


"It's swings and roundabouts," she said. "Some owners have chosen not to support us and move their horses and that's their prerogative, but others have supported us and invested in the yard. You can only do your best for the people who choose to support you.

"We're down in numbers but not in quality. We've got a lot of nice, young horses and you'd hope they'll fill the gap that Cloudy Dream, Mount Mews and Cyrus Darius have left. I've got four for Mr Collins this year, rather than the two we had – he's sent us two nice, unraced horses."

Waiting Patiently, who is unbeaten in six runs over fences, has been on the sidelines since a setback forced him to miss Aintree in the spring.


Jefferson star Waiting Patiently foils gallant Cue Card in race of the season


Despite that absence, he is no bigger than 8-1 for the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day and Jefferson reported: "He's in doing some very light work and he seems well in himself. He seems happy, though he's got a bit of weight to shift – he's done rather well on his summer holidays.

Waiting Patiently leads Cue Card up the Ascot run-in

"He's just walking but everything looks good at the moment. It's great to have him back as it's always nice to have a horse of his calibre around, it gives everyone a bit of a boost and they've all got very excited."

Plans for the seven-year-old's reappearance are fluid and his trainer stressed: "It will be a case of bringing him along and him telling me when he's ready. I don't have a particular target in mind but it will be November at the earliest.

"He's not slow and probably stays so it will depend on the options around when he's ready. The King George is a race we highlighted last year for him so people have it in mind, but we'll just see – I'm not going to make any promises."


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It's a blow to lose any horse and the higher the calibre the more of a blow it is but these sort of situations are outside your control
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