Waiting Patiently is fancied to give the North a first win in the Ryanair Chase for trainer Ruth Jefferson. The eight-year-old son of Flemensfirth has had a most disappointing campaign so far, with his only run at the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day seeing him unseat his rider before halfway.
The incident was not entirely Waiting Patiently’s fault, with Bristol De Mai making a bad error directly in front of him, giving jockey Brian Hughes nowhere to go. That disappointment led Ruth Jefferson into rerouting her stable star to the Ryanair on the Thursday of Cheltenham rather than the Gold Cup, which had originally been the plan. Further possibilities for a run have been and gone with the ground never soft enough in the view of the trainer.
Up until the aforementioned incident, the apple of his trainer’s eye was unbeaten over fences, with six straight victories culminating in a first Grade One last season in the 2m5f Ascot Chase. At Ascot, he defeated the top-class Cue Card, Gold Cup prospect Frodon, and prolific 2m4f chaser Top Notch. Waiting Patiently won the race by 2¾ lengths, having jumped and travelled supremely well in a performance of the highest order, and a repeat of that effort at Cheltenham Festival will give him first-rate claims.
Currently a standout price of 7/1, Waiting Patiently rates an excellent each-way bet, especially with several of his chief market rivals being highly doubtful participants. Indeed, the top three in the betting, Min (Champion Chase), Monalee (Gold Cup), and Footpad (Champion Chase), look more likely to run elsewhere. Just behind Waiting Patiently in the market is veteran Un De Sceaux, the 2017 winner of this race; however, he is now 11, and Top Notch, another with claims, has a bit to find with the selection.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Live: Top Notch ruled out of Ryanair Chase as soft ground on opening day goes odds-on >>><a href=”https://t.co/3mcZ8waSb5″>https://t.co/3mcZ8waSb5</a> <a href=”https://t.co/tvAxk3YASu”>pic.twitter.com/tvAxk3YASu</a></p>— Racing Post (@RacingPost) <a href=”https://twitter.com/RacingPost/status/971452367324483584?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>March 7, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Politologue, a dual Grade One winner who could only manage fourth when upped to 3m in the King George, may represent the best value elsewhere with his current 12/1 odds looking quite fair. Paul Nicholls’ chaser raced with great distinction over 2m last season until coming up short against the all-conquering Altior. Upped to 2m4f at Aintree, however, he gained a second Grade One and the notable scalp of ante-post favourite for this race, Min.
Ireland, having failed to win any of the first 11 renewals of this race, have won the last three, and last year’s winner Balko Des Flos should make the line-up again, but he has failed to fire at all this time around and looks a risky proposition at present. Min or Footpad would be the most feared of the Irish if they do turn up.
Waiting Patiently then rates an excellent each-way prospect, and his current 170 rating is better than four of the last five winners, with Un De Sceaux (171) as the only exception, so it will truly take an exceptional performance to deny him a second Grade One in one of the Thursday showpieces.