Yorkshire represented at Cheltenham Festival through Definitly Red and Waiting Patiently
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Fans of horse racing are able to witness the many races held all across Yorkshire every single day, and there’s a lot of choice with where to focus their attention due to so many options in Doncaster Racecourse, Ripon Races, York Racecourse, Catterick Racecourse and Wetherby Racecourse. One of the primary events on the horse racing calendar however is Cheltenham Festival.
While Yorkshire has set its own stamp on horse racing, the ability to provide entries worthy of competing at Cheltenham Festival shows another level of quality. Fortunately, the efforts of Yorkshire-based professional horse trainers Brian Ellison and Ruth Jefferson have overseen the development of two horses: Definitely Red and Waiting Patiently.
Brian Ellison striving to cause a major shock in The Gold Cup
Formerly the training ground of 1857 Epsom Derby winner Blink Blonny and winner of the 1864 Epsom Derby and St Leger Stakes, Spring Cottage Stables was purchased by Brian Ellison in 2000. His arrival saw a clear increase from twenty-five stables to over a hundred, now fully utilised for its intended purpose as a proving ground for horses capable of winning the biggest races.
With 235 wins from 2,320, one horse that has put Brian in the spotlight over recent years is Definitly Red, who a lot of fans are looking at to cause an upset in the Gold Cup. As things stand, he’s set to run and could be one to watch as one of the race’s many outsiders.
Even before Brian took control as trainer, Definitly Red was finding results at Cheltenham Racecourse, winning The High Sheriff Of Gloucestershire’s Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race in 2014.
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Ruth Jefferson closing in on The Ryanair Chase
Working alongside her father for over a decade, many expected Ruth Jefferson to give up on her dream of training horses when he died, but she proved a lot of people wrong when she took his place, taking over his license and carrying on his legacy.
The connection between Ruth Jefferson and her late father keeps her rooted in Yorkshire. Holding a record of nineteen wins from 110 runs in the last five years, Ruth Jefferson doesn’t present an elite record but certainly plenty to build on. Of all the horses that have come from Newstead Cottage Stables in recent times, Waiting Patiently has been a revelation to a lot of avid horse racing fans, achieving a solid record of seven wins and two seconds from ten runs, and looking more than able to get a result in this year’s Ryanair Chase.
The first win came shortly before Ruth Jefferson took over duties as trainer, winning the 2016 Betfred Novices’ Hurdle, but the six races that followed saw successive victories, winning the 2016 Betfred Lotto “£100k Cash Giveaway” Chase at Sedgefield, the 2016 Clearly Drinks Novices’ Chase at Newcastle, the 2017 Star Sports Cheltenham Preview Evening Novices’ Chase at Haydock, the 2017 Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase at Carlisle, the 2018 32Red Casino Chase at Kempton and the 2018 Betfair Ascot Chase. Another major challenge came in December, as Waiting Patiently ran in the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton, where he unseated the jockey. The finish was undoubtedly disappointing but Waiting Patiently maintains the same likelihood of sealing another win at this year’s Cheltenham Festival.
Do either Definitly Red or Waiting Patiently stand a chance at Cheltenham Festival 2019?
Rather than judging the races on their own merits and the other horses set to race, it makes more sense to see how each horse fares in the minds of fans. The Winners Enclosure did this recently in a handful of polls, starting with one that pitted Definitly Red’s against Might Bite.
Bookmakers are dropping the odds on the Cheltenham Gold Cup as they do with all recognised race meetings. Presenting Percy is current favourite, followed by Native River, before the odds increase for Clan Des Obeaux, Kemboy, and Thistlecrack. After this point, the odds go beyond 10/1, with distinct fluctuations for Nicky Henderson’s Might Bite, Willie Mullins’ Al Boum Photo, Colin Tizzard’s Elegant Escape and Definitly Red. It’s expected that these prices will change even more before March.
From the 225 people who voted in a Twitter poll, the majority voted for Might Bite. Definitly Red was the second favourite, achieving 24% of the vote.
As for Ruth Jefferson’s efforts to win The Ryanair Chase with Waiting Patiently, a large selection of The Winners Enclosure’s followers assess it as being an intriguing alternative to the obvious.
Despite the bookies’ favourite being included in the poll, Min only took 28% of the poll. The hype around Waiting Patiently continues to rise, with a lot of horse racing experts and fans seeing it as a horse that could go under the radar. This appeared to be the case on The Winners Enclosure’s poll, where a whopping 44% voted for Waiting Patiently to finish.