Christian Williams is more optimistic than confident about Waiting Patiently’s chances of winning back his crown in Saturday’s Betfair Ascot Chase.
It’s been four years since gelding Flemensfirth beat the popular Cue Card to secure his first and only success at year one level.
The 11-year-old has suffered his fair share of road bumps since – and was stopped on his first start for Williams, having 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 into action, with a clean run and a step in the right direction his main goals this weekend.
Williams said: “It’s a tough race, but it will be good to get back on the track with him. He likes soft ground and he’s done well on the track already, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a great race.”
“Nothing really came to light after Haydock. He’s probably a difficult horse to get into top form at his age, but he seems to be at home and it’s a privilege to have a horse in this type of racing. .
“You have to be realistic. We just hope he has a great race and gives us something to build on.”
Waiting Patiently is one of eight declared horses for the Ascot Chase, with the field led by Jeremy Scott’s reigning champion, Dashel Drasher.
Irish raider Fakir D’oudairies is a major contender for Joseph O’Brien, while champion manager Paul Nicholls relies on Saint Calvados, who finished third to King George at Kempton on Boxing Day.
The in-form Venetia Williams saddle Fanion D’Estruval, Nicky Henderson leads several sophomore winners Mister Fisher and Lostintranslation, a course and distance winner for Colin Tizzard earlier in the season, completes the field.