Waiting Patiently is set to make a surprise appearance in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Clarence House Chase, after being supplemented for the Grade One over an extended two miles at Ascot.
Connections of the Ruth Jefferson-trained gelding decided to add him to the field at the five-day confirmation stage for Saturday’s feature, because he had taken his run in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day so well.
The lightly-raced 10-year-old, owned by Richard Collins, finished strongly to take second place behind Frodon in the Christmas showpiece on his first start since December 2019.
That race was over three miles. But Waiting Patiently is versatile trip wise and will appreciate the rain, between 24 and 27 centimetres, which is forecast this week between Monday evening and Thursday on ground already described as soft.
“He came out of the King George really well, ridiculously well, in himself,” said Jefferson.
“I was mad with myself I didn’t enter him in the first place – and we felt a couple of weeks ago if he was all right, and there was plenty of rain about, we’d have a crack at it.
“It gives us a bit more time to think about Cheltenham rather than wait for the Ascot Chase (next month). We might go for that race, but we thought we’d run him while he was well in himself – and it frees up other options.
“They might get a frost but they are due about 25 millimetres of rain first at Ascot, so it’s going to be right up his street ground wise. He handles it better than most.”
His nine potential rivals are headed by Politologue. The Paul Nicholls-trained grey won last season’s Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham, and made a successful seasonal debut in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown last month.
Also in the mix is last year’s winner Defi Du Seuil, trained by Philip Hobbs. The eight-year-old has not run since disappointing in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham in November.
Nicholls also has Duc Des Genievres in the list, while Jessica Harrington’s Impact Factor is the sole Irish-trained possible.
Completing the list are Benatar, Bun Doran, Fanion D’Estruval, First Flow and Le Patriote.
Riders Onthe Storm and Sizing Pottsie were the two scratchings from the entry stage.