Goshen on track to put Cheltenham Festival disaster behind him

Gary Moore has issued a positive update on Sussex stable star Goshen - and says he is firmly on course to run in the Grade One Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival next week.

Sunday, 7th March 2021, 12:46 pm
Updated Sunday, 7th March 2021, 12:46 pm
Goshen goes over the sticks at Ascot / Picture: Getty

The five-year-old famously unseated-rider Gary’s son and regular pilot Jamie at the final flight in last year’s Triumph Hurdle with the race firmly in his grasp.

Following two runs on the Flat at Haydock and Goodwood respectively at the back-end of 2020, Goshen was found to have a fibrillating heart when last of 10 in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December.

However, he reignited his Champion Hurdle hopes with a stunning 22-length win at Wincanton in the Grade Two Kingwell Hurdle in February. A general 4/1 shot for the two-mile hurdling championship, he looks set to take on defending champion Epatante and the unbeaten Honeysuckle in what promises to be one of the races of the meeting.

Discussing Goshen’s preparation for the contest, Moore, who is based at Cisswood stables in Lower Beeding, said: “Goshen’s in great form and I couldn’t be happier with him going into the Cheltenham Festival. Goshen’s in great form and I couldn’t be happier with him going into the Cheltenham Festival. He’ll do a couple more pieces of work before the Cheltenham Festival, but that’s all.

“To be honest, the manner of his Wincanton win did surprise me. I was blown away with it really. Some pundits were saying that the time wasn’t very good and you take on that opinion, but he couldn’t have done it much easier could he?

“There was some testing ground in places at Wincanton, but he came through it and as he showed, he was strongest at the finish. Jamie said after the race that he had trouble pulling him up which is always a good sign.

“Good to soft ground would be perfect conditions for him. Everyone was concerned about the ground at Cheltenham last year for Goshen because he had been doing his winning in heavy ground. But he seemed to go just as well on quicker ground.

“As long as the word firm doesn’t appear in the going description then we’ll be fine and I couldn’t see that happening given the great job Simon Claisse [Cheltenham’s Clerk of the Course] does with the ground and given the amount of rain we are having at the moment. Wincanton yesterday for example went from good ground yesterday to soft by the time of the last couple of races. That’s how quick the ground can change at this time of year.”

Reflecting on his final-flight mishap in last year’s Triumph Hurdle, Moore, speaking on BettingExpert’s Cheltenham Preview Show Jump To It continued: “What happened last year in the Triumph Hurdle was a freak accident and I cannot believe that it will happen again.

“Before he fell, he had travelled beautifully and was well clear. Before the race, people were saying that Goshen couldn’t go left-handed, but he put that to bed and apart from what happened at the last, I just don’t see Cheltenham as being a problem for him.

“It would be fantastic to win a Champion Hurdle with Goshen. It also would look good on the CV too! It would be great if he could do it. Not just for me, but for his owner Steve Packham, for Jamie [Moore, rider] and for the whole yard. Good horses don’t come along very often and you have to make the most of them.”

Story in association with Betting Expert