Ladbrokes News vs Pricewise: All aboard the Rajdhani Express
So often when looking ahead to Cheltenham Festival contests, one criteria for finding the winner seems to pop up time and time again, no matter which race it is – that the selection is a proven course winner.
That pattern continues with the Ryanair Chase, with nine of the last 10 victors of the 2m5f contest having previously got their head in front at Prestbury Park.
And the fact that over half of the horses to even make the places in the contest’s history had previously won at the Gloucestershire track means that a Cheltenham regular might be the best place to look for a spot of value.
With doubts surrounding the participation of the likes of Champagne Fever, Hidden Cyclone, Taquin Du Seuil and Menorah towards the top of the market, taking an each-way chance on Nicky Henderson’s Rajdhani Express could pay dividends at 33/1.
Robert Waley-Cohen’s eight-year-old has a win and a third place finish in this very race to his name on his two Festival forays, so clearly comes alive this time of year.
His form ties in quite well with one of Tom Segal’s Pricewise picks Johns Spirit (10/1), and stands out at over three times the price.
Their first meeting at the track was on bottomless ground that saw a field well strung out and the Henderson charge struggling from an early stage after a first fence blunder
But following that the selection finished 16l ahead of Jonjo O’Neill’s charge giving him 2lbs when winning the Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase two years ago.
The pair went on to meet in the Paddy Power Gold Cup the following season, with the form reversed.
However our pick was giving the winner 11lbs that day, so with a distance between the pair of less than 10l, the placings can be reversed when they meet off level weights in the Ryanair.
The son of Presenting’s form this season may not read too well, but in truth nothing has gone right.
He unseated when travelling well in the Old Roan Chase on reappearance at Aintree, before the very soft ground didn’t see him at his best at Ascot in November.
His failure to settle in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon played a major part in his disappointing performance that day, but get him into a nice rhythm and Sam Waley-Cohen’s mount could be involved in the finish.
Should his trainer opt to try out a hood or another sort of headgear to reign in his charge, he would be even more interesting.
It may take a leap of faith, but this horse has plenty of ability and with a penchant for Cheltenham, and conditions likely to be spot on, he is too big a price.
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