Aintree 2015: Crabbie’s Topham Chase preview (16:05)
Trainer Nicky Henderson has won the last two runnings of the Topham Chase, and Rajdhani Express looks to hold major claims of landing the hat-trick for the Lambourn handler in this year’s renewal at Aintree (14:05).
The eight-year-old carries the colours of Robert Waley-Cohen, whose son Sam takes the ride and is attempting a sixth victory over the Grand National fences.
Rajdhani Express hasn’t been tried over the unique spruce obstacles to date but was seventh in last year’s Melling Chase over the Mildmay Course at this meeting.
This gelding was a progressive sort in 2013, winning the Rewards4Racing Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and following up with a very easy 15 length victory in a Grade 2 contest at Ayr.
Although he has failed to get his head front since success in the latter, Rajdhani Express did run very well to finish third to Dynaste in last year’s Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and, having been rated as high as 158, is now running off a mark of 152.
That gives the son of Presenting every chance from a handicapping perspective, and Rajdhani Express signalled a return to form last time out when staying on from a poor position to finish a never nearer 7 1/2 length eighth of 23 to Darna in a Grade 3 contest at the Cheltenham Festival.
It Rajdhani can build on that effort, he looks weighted to take all the beating on ground which is absolutely ideal.
There are plenty of dangers in a wide open contest and Monetaire, who finished runner-up to Darna and in front of Rajdhani Express at the Cheltenham Festival, and is bidding to give Grand National-winning trainer David Pipe a first win in the race, looks sure to go well.
Splash Of Ginge also looks a lively outsider for local owner John Neild.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained seven-year-old is a really tough sort who will not go down without a fight, and is nicely treated judged on his comfortable 3 1/4 length success over Hunt Ball in a Grade 3 contest at Cheltenham three starts back.
Splash Of Ginge also has a good record at the track, having won once and finished runner-up in two starts hurdles, and his handler knows what is required to win the race having saddled Irish Raptor to victory in 2009.