Horses To Follow » Rajdhani Express

Rajdhani Express

Rajdhani Express ran a nice race in the two-mile-five-furlong handicap chase at Cheltenham on Thursday. Settled nicely in mid-division by Sam Waley-Cohen, he just appeared to get a little outpaced among traffic as they quickened towards the end of the back straight, and he lost a couple of places. Still travelling well at the top of the hill, however, he still had a wall of horses in front of him as they started down the hill. He was well back in the field when they jumped the third last fence, but he still seemed to be travelling well. He just never seemed to have enough racing room to allow him get out and after the leaders. Switched to the far side in the home straight, he did stay on, but his rider was not overly hard on him once his winning chance had gone, and he ultimately finished eighth, but just over seven lengths behind the winner Darna.

The Waley-Cohens’ horse is looking like a potentially well-handicapped horse again now. Third behind Dynaste and Hidden Cyclone in the 2014 Ryanair Chase, he was rated 158 at his peak, but he has now dropped down to a mark of 152. Of course, there are reasons for that, he put in a couple of lack-lustre performances in the early part of this season. However, on his penultimate run, 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. Thursday’s run was his second encouraging run in a row, and that could set him up nicely for the Topham Chase at Aintree.

The Waley-Cohens obviously love Aintree. Indeed, the primary objective of his run in the BetBright Chase was to get Rajdhani Express into the first four so that he would qualify for the Grand National. It is probably a good thing that he didn’t achieve that goal, because he does not stay three miles. An extended two and a half miles is probably ideal.

He is a good jumper, he is the type of horse who should take to Aintree’s unique fences and, should he take his chance in the Topham, he will be partnered by Sam Waley-Cohen, who is dynamite over the big fences. At his best in the spring, Aintree has probably been on the Presenting gelding’s radar since the start of the season.

12th March 2015