RUTH JEFFERSON wants to run Waiting Patiently "sooner rather than later" after his mishap in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.

The Ryedale raider, on his first appearance of the season, lost his unbeaten record over fences through no fault of his own when he was brought down by Bristol De Mai at the end of the first circuit of a high-quality three-mile race.

While there is no obviously preferred option for his next race, Jefferson admits the fact she does not know if he stays three miles - which she was hoping to find out at Kempton - muddies the waters further.

"He's come back fine, trotted up sound this morning - and his legs are cold, which is the main thing, I suppose," she said.

"It's just one of those things. It wasn't his fault, but that's life.

"It was too early to say what would have happened, but I was very pleased with how he was going and how he was jumping - and Brian (jockey Brian Hughes) was very happy."

The day had been shaping up to be the biggest of Jefferson's fledgling training career in her first full season since taking over her Malton yard from her father, Malcolm. The chase was to be the biggest test of Waiting Patiently's career too. The furthest he had been in a race previously was the two miles and five furlongs of last season’s Betfair Ascot Chase.

Added Jefferson: "We still don't know if he'll stay three miles. I don't know what we'll do next - but I'm hoping if nothing comes to light to run him sooner rather than later, because he's obviously fit. I don't want to sit on him as it could cause problems.

"We'll consider everything, possibly even back at two miles. I just don't know as yet - we'll just have to see."

Seven-year-old Waiting Patiently is thought of a relatively fragile horse and it had been tricky for Jefferson to bring him to his peak without a previous race this season.

But the omens had been good and, with big-race jockey Hughes on board, he schooled well over four fences on an away day at Hexham the previous week.

There was enough give in the Kempton ground, too, for Jefferson to allow him to take on the best chasers this side of the Irish Sea.

As Jefferson said in the build-up to the race: “He doesn’t need it heavy, but he does want that bit of give to make it safe.

“The Kempton race is Plan ‘A’ and I hope we can stick to it, but if the going isn’t right then there is a Plan ‘B’ which would be taking him to Ireland though the going over there would have to be right for him as well.”