The Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham is a potential target for Malcolm Jefferson’s exciting chaser Waiting Patiently.
The six-year-old extended his unbeaten record over fences to four with an assured comeback victory in the Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase at Carlisle earlier this month and is set to step up in class either at Cheltenham on December 16 or in the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase on Sunday week.
Ruth Jefferson, assistant to her father, said: “The owner doesn’t want him to have an entry in the Tingle Creek at Sandown a week on Saturday, so we’re looking at either the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham or the John Durkan at Punchestown.
“He likes cut in the ground, which he’ll probably get in Ireland and we’ll see what the ground is like at Cheltenham.
“I think he’ll run in one or the other.”
Waiting Patiently is one of 36 entries for the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, with the first four home from the BetVictor Gold Cup – Splash Of Ginge, Starchitect, Le Prezien and Ballyalton – all in the mix.
Exotic Dancer was the last horse to complete the BetVictor Gold Cup-Caspian Caviar Gold Cup double in the same season back in 2006, following on from Pegwell Bay (1988) and Senor El Betrutti (1997).
Evan Williams has two contenders in On Tour and King’s Odyssey.
On Tour made a successful reappearance in a valuable event at Aintree earlier this month, while King’s Odyssey was third in a graduation chase at Carlisle.
Williams said: “It all depends on the ground with King’s Odyssey and he could go for the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, provided there is plenty of cut.
“It was a positive comeback at Carlisle. He has always promised to win a nice race, and we think perhaps he is one of those horses that we should have won a nice race with already.
“On Tour is a funny old horse because he is another who has promised to win a nice race and thankfully we were able to win a good pot at Aintree.
“It might be that we have won our pot now, but he deserves to be in the all big two-and-a-half-mile handicaps like the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup because there is such good prize money on offer and he has shown that he can run well in those types of races.”
Paul Nicholls has won the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup a record four times and his four-strong team includes the aforementioned Le Prezien and last Saturday’s impressive Haydock scorer Clan Des Obeaux.
Champion trainer Nicky Henderson has five entries to choose from, more than any other handler, including Gold Present.
Willie Mullins accounts for the three Irish-trained contenders, with Saturday’s Ladbrokes Trophy favourite Total Recall pencilled in alongside Acapella Bourgeois and Childrens List.