Past Winners » Raya Star


The case for Raya Star is relatively straightforward, he is just an improving handicap hurdler this season. After winning well at Wetherby on his return in October and then running well behind subsequent Champion Hurdle winner Rock On Ruby at Newbury in receipt of just 13lb, he ran two cracking races in two of the most competitive handicap hurdles of the year. He won the Ladbroke at Ascot, despite the very steady pace not playing to his strengths, and he followed that up with arguably an even better run when third to Zarkandar in the Betfair Hurdle off a 5lb higher mark.

On the back of that he was sent off just 8/1 for the County Hurdle at Cheltenham. On the face of it his effort in finishing 13th of 26 was a little disappointing, but the County Hurdle was a bit of a strange race this year, he was wide the whole way, he could never get into a position from which to challenge, and it is easy to forgive a horse one run, especially at the Cheltenahm Festival.

Having been a strong puller last season, the horse has really learned to settle this year, and so the smallish field today holds no fears for him. If he came straight here on the back of his Betfair Hurdle run he would be second favourite today, and that was clearly not his true running at Cheltenham. Alan King’s horses are going better now than they were going into and through Cheltenham, and Raya Star just shouldn’t be a 10/1 shot.

RAYA STAR WON (ADV 10/1, SP 15/2)