WAITING PATIENTLY can live up to his name by winning the King George VI Chase (3.05 Kempton).
Trainer Ruth Jefferson has long nominated this race as the main target for her stable star who showed his major talent when winning the Ascot Chase in February.
He defended his unbeaten record over fences that day, jumping well and clearly relishing another speed track like today’s.
Connections felt that Cheltenham’s ups and downs wouldn’t suit him and even 10 months ago they decided to wait for Kempton on Boxing Day.
That patience could well pay off as he loved the place on his previous visit to win a Listed contest by an easy eight lengths in January. That was one of the last big wins for legendary northern trainer Malcolm Jefferson before his sad death.
It would be fitting if this seven-year-old could give daughter Ruth another Grade 1 success. There should be the little bit of give in the ground he needs and he travels like a horse who will get the 3m trip at the first attempt.
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His lack of a recent run is no biggie as he’s gone well fresh in the past and will have been trained to the minute at home.
Last year’s winner Might Bite is more than capable of bouncing back from his poor effort on comeback at Haydock last time.
After taking this last term he was a brilliant second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup before cruising home in the Betway Bowl at Aintree.
It was a worry to see him badly out of sorts last month but we know he has what it takes to win.
Native River is a really likeable type but he should find this trip and track a bit too sharp unless there’s a downpour to make the ground really testing.
Politologue looks more dangerous given he likes it here and shapes as though this longer distance will bring improvement.
There are a couple of rock-solid favourites in the supporting races at Kempton. It’s hard to see anything stopping SANTINI in the 1.55 given how easily he won a Grade 2 on his chasing debut at Newbury last time.
If he’s too short for your Christmas cash, Bags Groove travelled really smoothly when winning by nine lengths at Huntingdon last time and is open to lots of improvement. He looks the one for the forecast.
Buveur D’Air will be about fours-on to win another Christmas Hurdle at 2.30 so if you’re looking for a bet, pick If The Cap Fits to follow him home.
He impressed when finishing like a train to win at Ascot last time and looks a genuine Grade 1 performer.
There’s a more competitive contest on the telly from Wetherby where the 2.10 can go to WAKANDA who has been laid out for the race.
He was second in it 12 months ago when beaten in a driving finish from a similar handicap mark.
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He went on to get the better of some useful performers in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster before finding life a little too hot at Cheltenham and Aintree’s festivals.
Trainer Sue Smith brought him back for a pipe-opener over hurdles here earlier this month that should him spot on for this target.
Crosspark is another who ran over timber last time but his effort was a winning one at Southwell.
That was on the back of an impressive chase success at Uttoxeter. That race wasn’t as strong as this but he got the job done well. The handicapper was watching and has hiked him 12lb but he should still be in the mix.
Lake View Lad rarely runs a bad race and had almost three lengths to spare when scoring at Newcastle last time out. He has won around here before and has plenty of stamina. He’s creeping up the weights but should be on the premises again.
12.50 Thomas Darby
1.20 Lough Derg Spirit
2.30 Buveur D’Air
3.05 Waiting Patiently
3.40 Penn Lane
12.00 Storm Goddess
12.30 Sounds Of Italy
1.35 Get On The Yager (ew double)
2.45 Becky The Thatcher
3.20 En Meme Temps
12.15 Bonza Girl
12.45 Westbrook Bertie
1.15 Manning Estate
1.50 Thomas Blossom
2.25 World Premier
3.00 Burgess Dream
12.05 Strong Resemblance
12.35 Klare Castle
1.05 Spirit Of Hale
1.40 Way Out West (ew double)
2.15 La Capricieux
2.50 General Bux
12.40 Johnny Rocco
1.10 Sir Egbert
1.45 Bennys King
2.20 Mortens Leam
2.55 Dew Pond
3.30 Gold Chain
11.55 Millie The Minx
12.25 Schiehallion Munro
12.55 Frankie Ballou
1.30 Lord Yeats
2.05 Sheriff Garrett
3.15 Midnight Glen
12.55 Posh Trish
1.25 William Henry
2.00 Kilfinichen Bay
2.35 Admirals Secret
3.45 Now Look At Me
1.05 Critical Thinking
1.40 Mr Red Clubs
2.15 Mossys Lodge
2.50 Court House
3.25 Pilot Wings
4.25 Li Kui
4.55 Antonia Clara