Waiting for a winner

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After the equine influenza-inspired blank of last weekend, British racing is set for a bumper Saturday with a host of top action. Ascot is centre stage and Waiting Patiently can retain his title in the Grade One Ascot Chase.

Waiting Patiently, 3.55 Ascot @ 7/4

Last year’s winner of this 2m5f contest is back for more and he has had to live up to his name with only one run since that score.

That came in the King George at Kempton where he cruelly lost his unbeaten record over fences when brought down before things got serious. It was a bold move to target the Christmas showpiece first time out and spoke volumes of how much Ruth Jefferson and connections think of Waiting Patiently.

He beat off old Cue Card in this race last year, idling a little late on and being value for more than his 2½-length win – with some good horses coming home at regular intervals behind them.

The three-mile experiment at Kempton now behind him, Waiting Patiently can account for the likes of Politologue, Fox Norton and Cyrname here and ensure he checks-in for the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival next month with a favourites’ chance.

Top Ville Ben, 1.35 Ascot @ 3/1

Earlier on the card Top Ville Ben can rubberstamp his exciting profile by making it three-from-three over fences for trainer Philip Kirby. Once trained by Nicky Henderson, he didn’t amount to all that much over hurdles but already looks a different proposition in this sphere.

At Christmas he destroyed his rivals at Wetherby with a bold display of front-running that saw him coasting him in splendid isolation.

Mister Malarky and Yalltari will ensure this is tougher, though the last-named will have his jumping tested after an early unseat last time, but Top Ville Ben is an exciting six-year-old and probably deserves to be shorter in the betting.

Sceau Royal, 3.00 Wincanton @ 13/8

Alan King appears to have spotted an opportunity in the Kingwell as he sends Sceau Royal, third in this year years’ ago, back over timber for the Grade 2.

He’s also a C&D scorer previously having won the Elite here and has established himself as a prolific and useful chaser more recently, winning five of seven starts in the sphere.

Last spotted coming home behind Altior on the Tingle Creek, this looks a good bit of placing by King, whose team are in form right now to boot, and he can gain his rewards.

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