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Horse Racing Tips EXCLUSIVE: Trainer Ruth Jefferson reveals her six horses to watch

Horse Racing Tips EXCLUSIVE: Trainer Ruth Jefferson reveals her six horses to watch (Pic: GETTY)

Ruth Jefferson is a bit wary of the half a tonne of cranky horse flesh standing in front of her.

But there is also a glint in her eye because this is no ordinary animal.

This is Waiting Patiently. The pride of northern jump racing, unbeaten in six chases and who brought the house down at Ascot one cold but emotional Saturday in February.

For many in racing, his stirring battle with the mighty Cue Card was THE race of last season but it was only half the story.

“He will either go straight to the King George or he won’t run until the new year”

Ruth Jefferson

Emotions ran amok for Ruth, jockey Brian Hughes and the whole Jefferson team as the victory came the day after the funeral of her father Malcolm.

Her dad was a legendary racing figure – a fine, decent man, who mastered the art of training horses like few others.

Ten months on from that day of rollercoaster emotions after the Ascot Chase, Ruth is going about the business of training racehorses in her own way.

She was assistant to her father for almost 15 years until immediately taking over the licence following his death.

And while his influence is inevitable, she is very much her own person: straight talking, level headed, no fluff, no nonsense, but with an intelligence and a determination to do the utmost for her owners, and the horses entrusted to her.

She has 34 in her care – mostly “lovely young horses” – but like every national hunt trainer the dry summer has played havoc with preparations, especially schooling, as the grass gallops have been rock hard.

She has sent horses to work at Richard Fahey’s yard down the road but is confident her horses will be firing soon.

They include Waiting Patiently, who returned from a summer break “a bit fat”.

“He will either go straight to the King George or he won’t run until the new year,” she reveals.

“I’m happy with him, he looks well and his work is great. If he goes for the King George he will have to step up and improve but I still feel we haven’t thrown him in at the deep end yet.”

Waiting Patiently has not been sighted on the track since Ascot after suffering a leg problem – nothing too serious but enough for him to miss Cheltenham in March.

But while there was disappointment about the horse’s absence, his trainer was philosophical.

While she would love to train a Cheltenham Festival winner, she insists it is not the be all and end all. There is Aintree. Or Ireland. She isn’t even sure

Waiting Patiently would enjoy Cheltenham’s undulations.

“I wouldn’t say no to a Festival winner but you have to be realistic about what your horse can achieve. His front legs are not entirely correct and so he is not suited to jumping downhill fences.

“I’m not convinced Cheltenham will suit him as they come down the hill going three strides quicker than normal.

Waiting Patiently

Waiting Patiently clears the last to win the Betfair Ascot Steeple Chase (Pic: GETTY)

“He will either go straight to the King George or he won’t run until the new year,” she reveals.

“I’m happy with him, he looks well and his work is great. If he goes for the King George he will have to step up and improve but I still feel we haven’t thrown him in at the deep end yet.”

Waiting Patiently has not been sighted on the track since Ascot after suffering a leg problem – nothing too serious but enough for him to miss Cheltenham in March.

But while there was disappointment about the horse’s absence, his trainer was philosophical.

While she would love to train a Cheltenham Festival winner, she insists it is not the be all and end all. There is Aintree. Or Ireland. She isn’t even sure

Waiting Patiently would enjoy Cheltenham’s undulations.

“I wouldn’t say no to a Festival winner but you have to be realistic about what your horse can achieve. His front legs are not entirely correct and so he is not suited to jumping downhill fences.

“I’m not convinced Cheltenham will suit him as they come down the hill going three strides quicker than normal.

“I’d have to shut my eyes. But if we feel it’s worth it we’ll give it a go.”

Ruth, 37, was born in 1981 – the year her father Malcolm and mum Sue moved into Newstead Cottage Stables on the fringe of Malton. Then, there were just 11 boxes.

Now there are 48 and the yard has been a conveyor belt of jumping talent including Dato Star, Cape Tribulation, Attaglance and According To Pete.

She began riding out when she was 12 and steered the brilliant Dato Star on his road work when she was a schoolgirl.

She also saddled him at Kempton when he won the 1999 Christmas Hurdle, aged just 18. Despite gaining a degree in dietetics at Leeds, Ruth always wanted to train horses.

She gained experience by riding out for a myriad of trainers including Clive Brittain, Michael Dods and Fahey, and learned different things to complement her father’s methods.

She also knows too well the sport’s highs and lows.

“I’d have to shut my eyes. But if we feel it’s worth it we’ll give it a go.”

Ruth, 37, was born in 1981 – the year her father Malcolm and mum Sue moved into Newstead Cottage Stables on the fringe of Malton. Then, there were just 11 boxes.

Now there are 48 and the yard has been a conveyor belt of jumping talent including Dato Star, Cape Tribulation, Attaglance and According To Pete.

She began riding out when she was 12 and steered the brilliant Dato Star on his road work when she was a schoolgirl.

She also saddled him at Kempton when he won the 1999 Christmas Hurdle, aged just 18. Despite gaining a degree in dietetics at Leeds, Ruth always wanted to train horses.

She gained experience by riding out for a myriad of trainers including Clive Brittain, Michael Dods and Fahey, and learned different things to complement her father’s methods.

She also knows too well the sport’s highs and lows.

On the day Waiting Patiently won at Ascot, she lost the gorgeous Black Ivory at Haydock. But while the useful Cloudy Dream and Mount Mews have left for Donald McCain’s, most of her owners have stayed loyal.

Nico de Boinville

Nico de Boinville won last years 32Red King George VI Steeple Chase at Kempton Park (Pic: GETTY)

In fact, they have put their faith in her by investing big time.

Waiting Patiently’s owner Richard Collins now has four horses instead of two while the Mount

Fawcus Partnership have spent big sums on Mega Yeats and £100,000 purchase Buster Valentine.

The conversation turns back to Kempton on Boxing Day.

Waiting Patiently is six from six over fences ,from two miles to 2m 5f, and although the King George over three miles would be unknown territory, his trainer insists: “I think he’ll stay. It doesn’t worry me that we might go straight for the KG without a prep race.

“I’ll let others worry about him not having a run. He is a clean winded horse and is easy to get fit.”

But she has to keep a lid on him, explaining: “He can overdo it and be hard on himself, both in his work and on the track.

He doesn’t take much racing. I’ll know when he’s ready. You can’t force him. He will show me in his work. He does everything effortlessly and is a natural jumper. He’ll tell me.”

Her father used to say, “let the horse come to you” and Ruth will continue to wait (patiently) for her star to do just that…”

SIX TO FOLLOW

Mega Yeats: “Laid back but talented mare who was second at Cheltenham last Saturday. I like her. Might go to Kelso on December 9.”

Bally Conor: “Not the flashiest worker but won his bumper at Ayr despite being green.”

Buster Valentine: “Cost £100k at the Doncaster sales. He’s doing things right.”

Return Ticket: “Nice horse who will go chasing.”

Northern Soul: “From the same family as Attaglance. I like him.”

Tayzar: “Won at Kelso and finished the race off well. When he learns to settle, he’ll make a good handicap chaser.”

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