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RACING: Express delivery for Waley-Cohens
10:00am Wednesday 13th March 2013 in Sport
SamM Waley-Cohen punched out Rajdhani Express to claim a thrilling triumph in the concluding Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival yesterday.
The amateur rider, who partnered Long Run to win 2011 Gold Cup and will be back on board the same horse on Friday, appeared confident coming down the hill aboard the Nicky Henderson-trained 16-1 chance.
He swung the final bend right in the mix and began to assert before the final fence.
Rajdhani Express jumped it well, and although Ackertac finished off really strongly, the top weight found plenty for pressure to hold on by a neck in the colours of the rider’s father, Robert Waley-Cohen, who lives at Edgehill, near Banbury.
Although the Gold Cup is still to come, it has also been a memorable few days for the rider following the recent birth of his first child, Max.
He said: “They say good things come in threes, so fingers crossed.
“I’m so pleased for Rajdhani, we bred him at home and his sister, Shatabdi, gave me enough wins to ride in the Grand National, so we know the family well.
“He jumped so beautifully – he just goes orbital and it’s just the most incredible feeling.
“You come to Cheltenham and you don’t dream you’re going to win these races – it’s magical.
“I’ll get home, give my wife and my new baby a kiss and watch the replays.”
Rajdhani Express’s win sealed a double for Henderson after Simonsig won the Racing Post Arkle Trophy.
The 8-15 favourite was made to work hard though by 33-1 outsider Baily Green, but Barry Geraghty drove his charge clear for a two-and-a- quarter lengths success.
“It was harder work than I thought,” said Geraghty.
“It didn’t set the headlines as we thought he might, but he was very good.”
Henderson added: “He has done well to win as he ran with the choke out the whole way, it was not quite the performance we expected.”
Jockey Brendan Powell jnr enjoyed his first Festival winner aboard Golden Chieftain in the JLT Speciality Handicap Chase.