After a blank weekend in Britain last time, this Saturday is a bonanza of top-class action with the equine flu now hopefully behind us. Waiting Patiently is amongst the star names out on Saturday and he’s expected to retain his crown at Ascot.
Waiting Patiently, 3.55 Ascot @ 7/4
It ranks as something of a concern that Ruth Jefferson’s charge has only run once since he won this contest a year ago but, Patient by name and patient by nature is the mantra it seems.
Just how much connections think of him was showcased in the decision to go for the King George first time out.
That he shed his unbeaten record on Boxing Day was no fault of his own and he is primed to strike again.
He strung out good horses winning this last year, and was worth more than the winning margin having idled late on. Politologue, Fox Norton and Cyrname ensure this isn’t a gimme by any means, but Waiting Patiently has something about him and can fend off all challengers.
Top Ville Ben, 1.35 Ascot @ 3/1
Going chasing has been the making of this former Seven Barrows inmate. He appears a real natural over a fence and trainer will Philip Kirby will have been thrilled with the bold manner of his Christmas success at Wetherby.
He jumped fluently and had his rivals under pressure a long way out, coming home in splendid isolation to make it two from two over fences.
Mister Malarky and Yalltari (a faller last time that will have his jumping tested, surely) are entitled to make him work harder here but he is an up-and-coming chaser with a bright future and appeals as the most likely winner once more.
Laskadine, 1.25 Haydock @ 15/8
She was already a winner of a Listen maiden hurdle in France when snapped up by JP McManus and sent to Nicky Henderson and the mare made a winning start for her new connections at Warwick last month almost in spite of herself.
Laskadine didn’t jump well and gave herself every chance of being turned over, but showed the right attitude to dig herself out. She should have learned plenty from that and, with the likes of If You Say Run vulnerable at this trip and Jester Jet racking up the seconds, she can improve and land this pot.
Sceau Royal, 3.00 Wincanton @ 13/8
Alan King has his team in fine fettle just now and it is an interesting move to send Sceau Royal back over hurdles for the Grade 2 Kingwell.
He was a C&D winner two seasons’ ago and also ran well behind stablemate Yanworth in this race. Since then he’s been earning his stripes jumping fences, winning five times in seven starts over those obstacles.
He was last spotted in the Tingle Creek at Sandown and his Barbury Castle handler might just have found him a good opportunity here back over timber.
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