Past Winners » Rajdhani Express


Rajdhani Express has shaped much better than the bare result on both of his last two runs, both in high-class handicap chases. In the first of them he travelled as well as the winner Rocky Creek into the home straight in the BetBright Chase at Kempton before his stamina gave way in that three-mile contest run on soft ground at a strong pace. Most recently, he caught the eye in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate at Cheltenham.

Settled nicely in mid-division by Sam Waley-Cohen, he jumped well among horses, but he just appeared to get caught in a bit of traffic coming to the end of the back straight and he lost a couple of places. He was travelling well at the top of the hill, but he still had a wall of horses in front of him as they started down the hill.

He continued to get held up in traffic all the way down to the home turn, and even in the home straight he didn’t have the clearest of runs having switched right up the inside. Only in a share of 12th place jumping the final fence, he kept on well up the hill to finish eighth. Waley-Cohen wasn’t hard on him once his winning chance had gone, and he seemed to finish with plenty of running still in him. On another day he could have finished much closer.

He is looking like a well-handicapped horse again now. Third behind Dynaste and Hidden Cyclone in the 2014 Ryanair Chase, he was rated 158 at his peak but has dropped to a mark of 152 these days. Interestingly, the RPR he achieved last time was his highest since that Ryanair run last season, a full 12 months before, and he has the scope to improve significantly on that if things go his way.

The Waley-Cohens obviously love Aintree, Sam has a superb record over the big fences there, and that run at Cheltenham should have set Rajdhani Express up really nicely for the Topham. He was probably being trained with the Grand National in mind for a large part of the season (he ran over three miles at Kempton in order to try to qualify for the big race), so it is likely that we haven’t seen the best of him yet this term. He could be at his peak on Friday, and he is well worth backing at 11/1 now.