As Goshen and Jamie Moore pounded towards the finish-line in last year’s Cheltenham Triumph Hurdle, it looked for all the world as though the pair were about to taste victory at the famous old Festival. But in the blink of an eye, the world came crashing down around Moore – almost literally. At the final hurdle, Goshen unseated the jockey and sent him crunching to the turf, as Paul Townend and Burning Victory stole the lead and came home in first.
What had looked certain to be a roaring success had ended in devastation for Moore. There was further bad luck to follow, as he suffered a broken back and sternum in a Fontwell Park race back in August. The jockey has also been supporting his wife, who has been ill with cancer, and so you can understand the hardships the family has faced over the last 12 months or so.
However, some six months on from his injury, Moore has now experienced the taste of victory once again, and it seemed fitting that it was Goshen who helped deliver it. Victory in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton has given the jockey a reason for joy at last, and a chance to exorcise the horrible year that was 2020.
Goshen’s trainer Gary Moore is the father of Jamie, and his emotion was plain to see after the pair romped to victory at Wincanton.
“People don’t know how much that meant to me. I know it’s not the Champion Hurdle but it meant a lot. To see the horse back and hopefully that can give Jamie some compensation to what has gone on in his life recently,” Gary Moore said.
The next challenge is that all-important Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. With the latest Cheltenham odds placing Goshen as the third-favourite at around 10/3, you can understand how some punters are getting excited about the five-year-old’s prospects, particularly with a reinvigorated Moore in the saddle.
Many of Goshen’s backers will think back to his dominance in the Triumph Hurdle last year before the rider’s shock fall from the saddle. It was looking like it would be the easiest of victories before Moore was unseated, and while it was undoubtedly an error by both horse and jockey, the raw power and speed of Goshen was clear for all to witness.
The horse’s record since last year’s fall at Cheltenham has not been good, with three defeats following that Prestbury Park hiccup. However, the strength of Goshen’s form in the run-up to last year’s Festival must be remembered, and is proof of the gelding’s ability to dominate races from the off. Prior to Cheltenham last year, he had won six consecutive races, and so his fall in the Triumph Hurdle was even more shocking. This latest win in the Kingwell Hurdle is proof that the same winning mentality still lies somewhere within Goshen.
Of course, there will be plenty of strong contenders lining up on the Cheltenham race card for the Champion Hurdle. The current favourite is Henry de Bromhead’s prized mare Honeysuckle, who is unbeaten in her jumps career thus far. Another strong contender is Epatante, but with a win under their belts, the Moores need not fear any of their competition ahead of race day on March 16th.