Ballytober victory justifies connections patience

07:57 24 December 2012

Ballytober ridden by Richard Johnson clears the last to win the Fernham Homes National Hunt Maiden Hurdle race during the Christmas Meeting at Ascot Racecourse. Photo: Phil Cole/PA

Ballytober ridden by Richard Johnson clears the last to win the Fernham Homes National Hunt Maiden Hurdle race during the Christmas Meeting at Ascot Racecourse. Photo: Phil Cole/PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

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Ballytober’s victory at Ascot on Friday continued the good form of owner Diana Whateley, who has fancied runners in two of the feature races at Kempton’s Winter Festival this week.

The six-year-old’s victory justified his connection’s patient approach after a tendon injury last season. The winner had been off the track for just shy of 21 months before finishing seventh on his comeback race at Ascot last month.

Balltober’s success delighted the owner’s husband Graham Whateley, who now hopes the good form will continue for their last start winners Captain Chris and Wishfull Thinking, who respectively take in the King George VI Chase and rescheduled Peterborough Chase on December 26 and 27.

“He had a tendon injury,” Graham Whateley confirmed. “We gave him a year off as we believe that we should always give him every opportunity to recover. We think he could go further, especially if it is soft.

“He showed a little greenness but we are really, really pleased to have him back. He needed the run. I am thrilled for everybody.

“We have Captain Chris in the King George. I like him very much and we will take our chances. Wishfull Thinking will run in the Peterborough Chase.”

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