While most of us will be tucking into our Christmas dinner on Christmas Day, trainer Ruth Jefferson will be preparing her star horse, WAITING PATIENTLY, for victory in the big race of the festive period, the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton Park.
Christmas is one of the busiest times of year in horse racing, with more than 940 stable staff and 74 licensed trainers hard at work in Yorkshire alone, and Kempton’s card on Boxing Day is one of 63 across the UK over the coming days.
Jefferson, who has had two only Christmas Days off since working at the yard under her father Malcolm from the age of 12, said it’s all systems go at Newstead Stables in Malton.
“We can’t stop just because it’s Christmas Day,” she said. “Any industry where you work with something that needs constant care, you work every day of the week and that includes Christmas.”
Waiting Patiently is a leading fancy for a cracking ten-runner King George, which also features the last two winners of the race, MIGHT BITE and THISTLECRACK, not to mention the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, NATIVE RIVER.
Coincidentally, Jefferson revealed that patience is a key factor in her training operation, especially at Christmas time.
“I am the second youngest of four and when we were young, we weren’t allowed to start Christmas until my dad had finished work,” she said.
“We got used to it and it taught us all about patience. In our family, the horses always come first.”
Waiting Patiently is the star of the show at Newstead Stables after his win in the Grade One Betfair Ascot Chase back in February, and is currently 5/1 with the bookmakers to win one of the most prestigious races in the jumps calendar which has illustrious names such as Kauto Star, Best Mate and Desert Orchid on its roll of honour .
Jefferson claimed that winning the race would her biggest achievement and the perfect Christmas present for all at the yard,
She added: “We’ve had the King George VI Chase in the back of our minds for a long time. He’s done nothing wrong in his career over fences so far and he deserves the opportunity to have a go at a race like this.
“I think for all the staff to be involved in a horse like him and to win the race would be such a boost to them and would make their Christmas”
Aiden Blakemore, who is conditional jockey at the yard and rides-out Waiting Patiently every day, explained what it’s like to work there over the festive period,
He said: “We’ll be busy looking after the horses on Christmas Day, making sure all their needs are met and that they have a nice Christmas!
“I ride out Waiting Patiently every day and have been tasked with getting him ready for the King George, along with Ruth.
“It would mean everything to win a big race like this as they don’t come round very often. It would be a good Christmas present for everyone here.”
Few doubt Waiting Patiently’s class. The question marks against him on Boxing Day surround the fact that he’s never gone as far as 3m before, and his absence from the track since that race at Ascot ten months ago.
Find out if he can do it by watching the 32Red King George VI Chase on Boxing Day from 3.05 pm live on ITV.
To find your local raceday over the festive period, go to: http://www.greatbritishracing.com/fixtures
THIS article has been kindly supplied by Great British Racing, which is the marketing and promotional arm of British horse racing. Its role is to widen racing’s fan-base, help grow revenue streams, and maintain British racing’s position internationally as the best in the world.