Henderson quells Santini fears as 'Delta' heads RSA charts
Delta Work has assumed clear favouritism for the RSA Chase after scares around the fitness of Nicky Henderson's Santini emerged yesterday.
Henderson attempted to alleviate any doubts about Santini's participation at next week's Cheltenham Festival after he pulled his shoe when schooling at Newbury on Sunday.
Henderson still expects his seven-year-old - a long-time ante-post favourite but a notable drifter to 4/1 (from 5/2) yesterday with money piling in for the Gordon Elliott-trained Delta Work (2/1) - to line up despite the minor setback.
"There's nothing wrong at all. Santini jumped 10 fences at Newbury along with Might Bite and On The Blind Side, and that was all fine. He lost a shoe on the way around," the UK champion trainer said yesterday.
"Our vet poulticed it as a precautionary measure. I have been away from the yard today but have spoken to my staff and they report him fine and we see no reason why he won't run in the RSA. Should that change, I will update accordingly."
Meanwhile, Waiting Patiently will not contest the Grade One Ryanair Chase despite the forecast rain expected to play to the strengths of Ruth Jefferson's charge.
Connections have played the waiting game with the talented eight-year-old only running twice this season and he was last seen when chasing home Paul Nicholls' Cyrname in last month's Ascot Chase.
Waiting Patiently had been an 8/1 shot - Willie Mullins' Min is 3/1 favourite - but Cheltenham's loss is likely to be a gain for some of the other spring festivals with visits to Aintree and Punchestown mooted.
The Prix La Barka at Auteuil in May and the French Champion Hurdle in June are also being discussed.
Elsewhere, Limerick owner JP McManus has scratched a host of Cheltenham handicap possibilities with Charles Byrnes' Off You Go, Jessica Harrington's Jezki, Joseph O'Brien's Ivanovich Gorbatov and Noel Meade's De Name Escapes Me ruled out.
Unhappiness with their handicapping is understood to be the reason why, with Off You Go - a 12/1 chance for the Coral Cup - also pulled out and Byrnes is expected to aim the Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle winner at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival.