Christian Williams is more hopeful than confident about the chances of Waiting Patiently regaining his crown in Saturday’s Betfair Ascot Chase.
It is four years since the Flemensfirth gelding beat the popular Cue Card to secure his first and only success at Grade One level.
The 11-year-old has suffered his fair share of bumps in the road since – and was pulled up on his first start for Williams, having previously been trained by Ruth Jefferson, in the Betfair Chase in November.
The Welsh handler has given the veteran plenty of time before bringing him back to competitive action, with a clear round and a step in the right direction his key targets this weekend.
Williams said: “It’s a tough race, but it will be nice to get back on the track with him. He appreciates soft ground and he’s run well round the track before, so fingers crossed for a nice run.
“Nothing really came to light after Haydock. He’s probably a tough horse to get in tip-top form at his age, but he seems well at home and it’s a privilege to have a horse in these type of races.
“You’ve got to be realistic. We just hope he runs a nice race and gives us something to build on.”
Waiting Patiently is one of eight horses declared for the Ascot Chase, with the field headed by Jeremy Scott’s defending champion Dashel Drasher.
Irish raider Fakir D’oudairies is a major contender for Joseph O’Brien, while champion trainer Paul Nicholls relies on Saint Calvados, who finished third in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day.
The in-form Venetia Williams saddles Fanion D’Estruval, Nicky Henderson runs multiple Grade Two winner Mister Fisher and Lostintranslation, a winner over the course and distance for Colin Tizzard earlier in the season, completes the field.