Waley-Cohen hopes tight fit can give extra edge to Express
SAm Waley-Cohen – a man who deals with new technologies in the dental world – has enlisted the help of a former Formula One technician to help Rajdhani Express in Saturday's Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
Tight-fitting silks have been around on the Flat for a while but Waley-Cohen will be wearing silks that take aerodynamics in horse racing to a new level and reduce drag to an absolute minimum.
It all stemmed from when he rode in the Etape, the amateur stage of the Tour de France, and realised how much a flapping shirt slowed him. He approached an aerodynamic design company which has come up with the super-tight silks, which look more like a triathlete's suit than racing silks in that they incorporate shorts to help keep tension down the back and the sponsor's name is incorporated in the material.
"The colours are properly tight," Waley-Cohen said. "I expect I will get mocked. When the All Blacks started wearing tighter tops everyone laughed, but 10 years later they're all doing it.
"Racing has always been slow to incorporate new technology. Even the casual cyclist is now more aerodynamic than a jockey.
"It probably means I'll trail round the back marginally less slowly. It's not me suddenly strapping a rocket to my back, but if we win by an inch, well, it might be what made the difference."
Rajdhani Express won a novice handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival last season and followed up in the Future Champions Chase at Ayr. He is a 10/1 shot for Saturday with the sponsor.
"The Paddy Power is such a competitive race. It's the nearest thing to a knife fight in jump racing. Not even Long Run could lay up in it and they go a million miles an hour from the start. Whoever wins has to run the race of their lives," said Waley-Cohen.
While John 'Shark' Hanlon's Hidden Cyclone looks certain to feature, Irish representatives are likely to be thin on the ground, but that won't be the case with Sunday's feature, the Greatwood Hurdle.
Sabrina Harty is considering giving Kalann his first run back over jumps since he returned from a long lay-off with a spin on the Flat at Dundalk last month but he also holds an entry there on Friday.
Kalann is a course winner at Prestbury Park but was sidelined for 17 months after sustaining an injury in the 2012 Champion Hurdle won by Rock On Ruby.
Gordon Elliott's Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle winner Flaxen Flare, Thomas Edison from Tony Martin's stable, Matthew Smith's Rawnaq and Michael Hourigan's Enchanted Forest are the other raiders among a field of 20 left in the big handicap at the confirmation stage.
Last year's runner-up Cash And Go, trained by Nicky Henderson, could bid to go one better after finding only Olofi too strong 12 months ago. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
Paddy Power – sponsor's bet: 5 /1 Dynaste, 6 /1 Johns Spirit, 10 /1 Rajdhani Express, Champion Court, Ballynagour, 12 /1 Colour Squadron, Katenko, Hidden Cyclone, Salut Flo, 14 /1 bar.