Sam Waley-Cohen punched out Rajdhani Express to claim a thrilling triumph in the Rewards4Racing Novices' Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.

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 on the run down to 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.

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.

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.

"It was a rough race and there were moments you didn't get the splits that you wanted, but he was brave and kept finding his balance and kept galloping.

"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. "It's a great day."

Henderson said: "He has jumped great. "It was very soft here last time and that wasn't his true form.

"We thought at Kempton over Christmas he was going to be a very good horse.

"I'd love to go for the Topham (at Aintree)."

Waley-Cohen snr, who is also Cheltenham chairman, said: "It's my first home-bred winner at the Festival, so that's a huge pleasure.