Christian Williams is confident Waiting Patiently can recreate his Grade One form when making his stable debut in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday.
The 10-year-old was previously campaigned by Malton-based Ruth Jefferson, under whose care he claimed a top-level victory in the 2018 Betfair Ascot Chase and finished second in the 2020 King George VI.
A succession of niggling injuries have left the gelding only lightly raced for his age, with his owner feeling a change of scenery may be of benefit after his pulled-up run in the Bowl Chase at Aintree in April.
“We were very lucky to get him, though it is a shame for Ruth,” Williams said.
“The owner came up with the idea that as he doesn’t run very often and at his age, it’d probably do him the world of good to have a change in training. We were just lucky with where we’re situated to get the phone call.”
Williams’ stable is located in Ogmore-By-Sea, a Glamorgan village with access to sand dunes and two rivers – natural facilities the trainer takes full advantage of.
“Ultimately we’ll find out on the weekend,” Williams said of how well Waiting Patiently has settled at his new yard.
“He seems in good form, it took him a few weeks to settle in but we’ve had him a good four months now and we’ve done loads of steady, slow work with him.
“We couldn’t be happier with him. Obviously a day is a long time in racing and we’ve four days to go, but we have our fingers crossed that he can get there at the weekend in good form. Up until now, it couldn’t have gone any better.”
Brian Hughes has a long-standing association with the horse having ridden him in 13 of his 16 starts, a partnership that Williams is keen to preserve rather than calling on stable conditional Jack Tudor.
“Jack rides him a lot at home, my brother Nicky and Jack ride him out, but the horse doesn’t run very often,” Williams said.
“He often only runs three or four times a year and if Jack was to ride him, it might take him a run or two to get used to him and half your season is up then.
“Brian knows the horse well, the owner gets on well with Brian and wants to keep him on board which is fine.”
The race looks to be a notably competitive renewal, with Henry de Bromhead’s Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up A Plus Tard set to travel over from Ireland to challenge three-times winner Bristol De Mai.
Williams is relishing the idea of a vintage Betfair Chase and is keen to pitch his runner against horses from the top stables.
“We’re confident, we’ve a spring in our step as we’re having a good run, so we’re looking forward to the weekend,” he said.
“We’re an ambitious team and we’d rather those type of horses were in the race than not.
“We want to take the best on, we don’t want it to be a three or four-runner Betfair Chase, we want it to be a good race, it’s good for the public. We want to win a good Betfair Chase, we don’t want to win a poor one.
“We look forward to taking the big yards on, we try to run our horses regularly and we try to take the big yards on. It’s great to have a runner in a Saturday race, it’s great for the profile of the yard.
“We’ll let him do the talking at the weekend. It’d be brilliant, we’re going along nicely but this a step up.
“We’ve got Potters Corner, Cap Du Nord, Kitty’s Light and he’s a step forward again, it’s great to be in a Grade One and we think we’ve got him in good form.”