RUTH JEFFERSON will have a stable star waiting patiently at Tingle Creek Chase in Sandown this week.
The Malton coach had also considered contracts for the held by Richard Collins horse in Huntingdon and Punchestown.
However, she has opted for this two-mile test with eight runners – the final statements are to be made today.
Waiting Patiently, who won the first-class Ascot Chase in February 2018, was struck by injuries and misfortune in subsequent missions.
The horse that was killed in last year's chase by King George VI. Killed in Kempton, Ascot chased home this year's chase to be placed in Aintree. Potential rivals include Philip Hobbs-trained Defi Du Seuil – last month's champion newcomer was a very impressive Cheltenham winner – and Politologue, who won the 2017 renewal for champion trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Harry Cobden in 2017.
The fact that Brian Hughes, the leading driver of the North, will be in Sandown to wait patiently, means that Henry Brooke will race in Aintree's mug Chase on the Grand National circuit as a partner of Brian Ellison's Definitly Red.
This is the case after Definitiv Red's regular driver, Danny Cook, chose Sue and Harvey Smith's Vintage Clouds in the Grand National Exam, after he himself was deeply tormented.
As the first victim of an obstacle in this year's national team, connections want Vintage Clouds – owned by Trevor Hemmings – to complete a second tilt next April at the world's most famous obstacle course in Aintree Match Training.
In the meantime, Sulekha Varma has been honored to have been appointed the new Aintree Course Administrator. Andrew Tulloch announced in October that he would resign from his position – and Varma, who has been race director and clerk at Hamilton since 2016, was elected as his successor.
She will therefore be the first woman to hold the role at Aintree.
Varma started out as a trainee at Jockey Club Racecourses in Haydock Park in 2009 and worked on four other JCR routes – Nottingham, Market Rasen, Warwick and Huntingdon – between 2010 and 2016.
She also has a long-standing relationship with Aintree, who has worked as part of the Grand National Festival team for the past 10 years and assists Tulloch, who will continue to play an advisory role.
"It's an extremely exciting opportunity to join the team hosting the UK's most famous horse race – and I'm looking forward to the start," she said.
Tom George is not sure if he should give another crack to The Worlds End at Paisley Park in the Marsh Hurdle in Ascot.
Awe-inspiring winner of the West Yorkshire hurdle in Wetherby on Charlie Hall Chase Day, the eight-year-old was looking for a second-place double at the Long Distance Hurdle in Newbury last Friday.
But Adrian Heskin's mount had to settle for Emma Lavelle's star-starter and veteran Thistlecrack with small degrees.
George lets the dust settle before deciding whether to re-attack Paisley Park in the Marsh Hurdle – better known as the Long Walk – on December 21, or travel to Ireland a week later.
"We were satisfied with the way he ran in Newbury. He gave Thistlecrack six pounds, but Paisley Park has beaten us fairly and fairly, and we do not know exactly how to turn the odds on him, "said George. "We just have to do the right thing with our horse."