Crabbie's Topham Chase
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Grade 3 Handicap,
Aintree 16:05
£120,000 added, 5yo plus,
2m 5f 110y, Class 1  
Friday 10th April 2015

30181

1 Rajdhani Express 10/1
2 Fairy Rath 25/1
3 Rathlin 20/1
4 Hunt Ball 25/1
5 Ruben Cotter 8/1cf
30 ran Distances: 10l, 11l, 4½l
TIME 5m 23.90s (slow by 2.90s)

Rajdhani Express wins the Topham. Another win for Sam Waley-Cohen over the National fences.

Rajdhani Express
© Racehorse Photos
Rajdhani Express

Amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen excels over Aintree's specialist spruce fences and on Friday recorded his sixth win to become the winning-most jockey over the National obstacles of the modern era when guiding his father Robert's homebred Rajdhani Express to victory.

He said: "It's such a special course and it's amazing to hear that. I'm lucky because I get to ride in the Fox Hunters' so I get a few extra chances but so much depends on the horse and if you can get on the right one you can have a magical time over those fences and he was brilliant today. He was so clever and full of courage. I wasn't sure coming round the last bend if we'd done too much but I just tried to fill him up and he was so brave. I was all a bit 'pony club' jumping the last and had to sit deep in the saddle but it was just magic.

"Lady Luck was with us. There's such a premium on jumping - if your horse can look after himself and look after you then you can have a great time. You just sometimes need a damn bit of luck and we got it today."

Despite his good record at Aintree, which includes second and fourth place finishes in the Crabbie's Grand National on Oscar Time, who he rides again tomorrow, Waley-Cohen took a first-fence fall from Warne in yesterday's Crabbie's Fox Hunters' Chase.

He added: "That's the thing - yesterday I felt like the worst jockey in the world and today I'm told I'm the winning-most jockey over these fences. It's all a bit arbitrary really."

Looking ahead to tomorrow's big race, Waley-Cohen said: "It's a dream to be lining up in the Grand National. Oscar Time has been a superstar and if he can get a bit of luck and have a clear round, he won't be far away."

Sam Waley-Cohen has won the Topham Chase twice on Rajdhani Express (2015) and Liberthine (2006), and the Aintree Fox Hunters' Chase three times on Katarino (2005 and 2006) and Warne (2014). He has also won the Betfred Becher Chase on Oscar Time.

Crabbie's Topham Chase (Grade 3 Handicap)
£120,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m 5f 110y, Class 1
30 ran
Going: Good to Soft, Good in places

Pos Dist Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Rajdhani Express 10/1 Mr S Waley-Cohen (3)
11-11
N J Henderson 8
2nd 10 Fairy Rath (IRE) 25/1 Tom Cannon
10-4
N J Gifford 9
3rd 11 Rathlin 20/1 B T O'Connell
11-6
M F Morris 10
4th Hunt Ball (IRE) 25/1 A Tinkler
11-12
N J Henderson 10
5th 1 Ruben Cotter (IRE) 8/1c Sam Twiston-Davies
11-1
P F Nicholls 9
6th s.h Art Of Logistics (IRE) 33/1 P Carberry
11-3
Ms S Hughes 7
7th 12 Bobcatbilly (IRE) 50/1 W Kennedy
10-10
Ian Williams 9
8th Sew On Target (IRE) 50/1 Brendan Powell
11-1
C L Tizzard 10
9th 5 Bless The Wings (IRE) 16/1 D J Condon
10-7
G Elliott 10
10th ½ Maggio (FR) 33/1 B Hughes
10-12
P Griffin 10
PU Splash of Ginge 12/1 Ryan Hatch (5)
11-10
N A Twiston-Davies 7
PU Eastlake (IRE) 8/1c A P McCoy
11-7
Jonjo O'Neill 9
PU Poole Master 28/1 Paul Moloney
11-6
D Pipe 10
PU Montoya's Son (IRE) 20/1 B P Harding
10-6
K Dalgleish 10
PU Up To Something (FR) 40/1 D F O'Regan
10-5
C E Longsdon 7
F Turban (FR) 33/1 R Walsh
11-10
W P Mullins 8
F Annacotty (IRE) 28/1 G Sheehan
11-8
M Keighley 7
F Some Tikket (IRE) 33/1 J J Burke (3)
10-9
Ms S Hughes 8
F Wings Of Smoke (IRE) 40/1 R Johnson
10-7
Tim Vaughan 10
F Festive Affair (IRE) 25/1 R P McLernon
10-0
Jonjo O'Neill 7
F Standing Ovation (IRE) 11/1 C O'Farrell
10-0
D Pipe 8
UR Bennys Mist (IRE) 14/1 Aidan Coleman
11-2
Miss V Williams 9
UR Monetaire (FR) 8/1c T Scudamore
11-2
D Pipe 9
UR Theatre Guide (IRE) 12/1 D A Jacob
11-1
C L Tizzard 8
UR Ballygarvey (FR) 50/1 T J O'Brien
10-10
P J Hobbs 9
UR Witness In Court (IRE) 50/1 P Townend
10-8
D McCain Jnr 8
UR Granville Island (IRE) 50/1 Peter Carberry
10-7
Jennie Candlish 8
UR Deciding Moment (IRE) 66/1 Jack Doyle
10-4
B De Haan 9
BD Darna 20/1 D Bass
11-6
K C Bailey 9
BD Kings Grey (IRE) 100/1 Henry Brooke
10-3
J Wade 11

WALEY-COHEN SO PROUD OF HIS SON

Racehorse owner and permit holder Robert Waley-Cohen won today's Crabbie's Topham Chase with the Nicky Henderson-trained Rajdhani Express, ridden by his son Sam.

Waley-Cohen, who is also chairman of Cheltenham racecourse, beamed proudly while reflecting that Sam had just won his sixth race over Aintree's Crabbie's Grand National fences, becoming the most successful current rider around the famous course.

A former amateur rider, Waley-Cohen Snr said: "What a wonderful day, but how do you explain that he [Sam] fell on an odds-on favourite in a point-to-point on Monday, fell at the first yesterday [on Warne in the Crabbie's Fox Hunters' Chase] and wins this? [After tomorrow's big race] He will have ridden in each of the five races over the National fences this season and he's won two and been second once - how could you pick any other jockey to ride over them?

"He wanted space in today's race - there was no real plan, just get space and jump the fences. You take your time over the first four then creep around the first corner, which is what he did and got into a wonderful position. Who knows how he avoids the trouble that others find?

"I rode here three times [in the Crabbie's Fox Hunters' Chase] and managed to fall once and finish fourth - that was in 1977, and the winner was Happy Warrior, ridden by Nicky Henderson. I fell at Becher's, so I'm in quite distinguished company."

The Waley-Cohens will team up again in tomorrow's Crabbie's Grand National with Oscar Time, at 14 the oldest horse in the race, but with a fine Aintree record. Waley-Cohen, who also trains the horse at his home on the Oxfordshire/Warwickshire border, said: "He is in absolutely fantastic condition - prime order."

Henderson, who does not train a Crabbie's Grand National runner this year, was winning today's race for a third consecutive year following victories with Ma Filleule (2014) and Triolo D'Alene (2013), and for the fifth time in all. He also shared a win with the Waley-Cohens in 2006 with Liberthine, while in 1990 he saddled the Robert Waley-Cohen-owned Wont Be Gone Long to score under Richard Dunwoody. He said of Sam Waley-Cohen: "It is extraordinary - he does have an affinity with these fences that you cannot put into words. The first fence got in the way for him yesterday, but he has an amazing record. Now we just need to find a clue to a Grand National horse because that's our third consecutive Topham and yet it's hard to find the Saturday one.

"This horse schooled very well the other day and looked the right type for this race. I'll be cheering on Sam in tomorrow's race - the Hendersons and Waley-Cohens have been friends for a very long time. We go back to before Wont Be Gone Long, who was favourite for the National that never was [in 1993 when a false start resulted in the race being declared void]. It's wonderful to still be involved together all these years later."

EARPLUGS HELP FAIRY RATH INTO SECOND IN THE TOPHAM

Nick Gifford, trainer of second-placed Fairy Rath, was delighted with the horse's first attempt at the Grand National fences.

He said: "We popped earplugs in him in the pre-parade ring and that settled him. He was beaten by a class horse, so no complaints there, but that will have given Tom [Cannon, the jockey] some spin round there. We're chuffed."

Fairy Rath is owned by television personality Jeremy Kyle's wife Carla.

She said: "I feel like I've won! I am so pleased he came second. He was up against a lot of good horses and Nick has done an amazing job with him. I'm just so happy."

Eddie O'Leary, racing manager for Gigginstown House Stud, owners of third-placed Rathlin, said: "He's run very well. He couldn't quite go the early pace and made a couple of mistakes but he's stayed on well though. We're proud of our horse.

"I tell you what though, that Sam Waley-Cohen is unbelievable. He'd give the pros seven pounds."