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'I'm desperate to run him' - Moore eager to test Goshen's Champion credentials

Goshen: set to finally make his seasonal reappearance over hurdles in the Unibet International Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday
Goshen: set to finally make his seasonal reappearance over hurdles in the Unibet International Hurdle at Cheltenham on SaturdayCredit: Edward Whitaker

Gary Moore says Goshen is the best horse he has trained and is the one they all have to beat in Saturday's Grade 2 Unibet International Hurdle at Cheltenham.

That is some statement when you consider Moore saddled Sire De Grugy to win five Grade 1s and, as yet, the biggest win on Goshen's CV is a Class 3 juvenile hurdle at Ascot last January.

The trainer, who suffered the agony of watching Goshen unseat Jamie Moore at the final flight when clear in March's Triumph Hurdle, said: "I'm desperate to run him. I've never trained a horse as good as this before."

Asked how Goshen compares to his former stable star, he said: "I think he is better because he has more speed. Sire De Grugy had an unbelievable amount of speed, but he would never have been a Champion Hurdle horse.

Goshen: the pride of Horsham, flanked by Jamie and Gary Moore, returns at Haydock
Gary Moore (right) and Jamie Moore (left) with stable star GoshenCredit: Mark Cranham

"He was a better chaser than he was a hurdler and while there would be no problem with Goshen jumping fences, Sire De Grugy was a proper chasing type.

"If Goshen is good enough to win a Champion Hurdle, or run well, I'd be in no rush to go over fences. All the time he can hold his own in top class races over hurdles, why do we need to go over fences?"

Moore expects to find out on Saturday if Goshen can hold his own in open company at Grade 2 level against experienced, classy hurdlers, with last year's winner Call Me Lord, Silver Streak and Grade 1 heroine Verdana Blue among the ten entries for the 2m1f contest.

Speaking on a call hosted by Great British Racing, Moore added: "If he runs you can expect a big run, they'll have him to beat. It'll tell us everything, if he can't win on Saturday he shouldn't be going for a Champion Hurdle and God knows what we'll do with him.

"I want it to be the easiest race possible, I'd hate for him to have a hard race on his first run back but it depends what he has to take on.

"We're really looking forward to it, he's been very good the last few weeks and schooled earlier in the week and jumped well. He had a little school this morning and was very quick and accurate, I couldn't be happier with him."

The beginning of the end: Jamie Moore loses contact with Goshen after the final flight in the Triumph
Jamie Moore loses contact with Goshen after the final flight in the TriumphCredit: Mark Cranham

Moore is not even thinking about a repeat of the incident that cost Goshen victory in the Triumph Hurdle on his last visit to the course.

He said: "I'm quite old now and I've never seen a horse do what he did. We've messed about with his shoes to make sure there's nothing hanging out the back of them so it can't happen again, but I can't imagine it would happen again.

"We've made sure there isn't any overhang at all at the back of the shoe. The back foot got caught on the front, and they're rasped down now.

Triumph Hurdle full result and race replay

"But it's been spoken about too much, it's boring me, it was a freak accident and I've completely put it out of my mind and wouldn't even think of it happening twice."

Goshen has missed several targets already this season and Moore explained on Monday: "He'll do his last piece of work tomorrow morning, he'll be scoped after and if he's clean and good we'll head to Cheltenham."

Sceau Royal: entered for the Grade 2 Unibet International Hurdle on Saturday
Sceau Royal: entered for the Grade 2 Unibet International Hurdle on SaturdayCredit: Getty Images/Pool

Goshen was among ten entered for Saturday's £112,000 Grade 2, with Ballyandy, Call Me Lord, Ch'tibello, Sceau Royal, Silver Streak, Song For Someone, Stormy Ireland, Summerville Boy and Verdana Blue completing the list of possible runners.

Clerk of the course Simon Claisse expects the race to be run on ground described as soft. He said: "We're on the New course, which we've not raced on since March, and we're currently good to soft on the chase, hurdle and cross-country tracks.

"We've had ten millimetres of rain since Friday, but the forecast is mostly dry now until Thursday, when we could get three and a half to four millimetres - and the same on Friday. My expectation is we will be soft come Friday if that rain materialises.

"We're running the chases early in mitigation of low sun. The forecast for Friday and Saturday is not for bright sunshine but you never know."

Unibet International Hurdle
Sponsors: 3 Goshen, 4 Sceau Royal, 5 Silver Streak, Ballyandy, 6 Song For Someone, 7 Ch'tibello, 10 Summerville Boy, Call Me Lord, 12 Verdana Blue, 16 Stormy Ireland

Read more:

Peterborough Chase to be run at Cheltenham as part of eight-race card on Friday

What's On This Week: Champion Hurdle clues at Cheltenham as well as rescheduled Peterborough Chase

December delights: the big races that cannot be missed this month

Moore 'distraught' as Goshen unseats rider with Triumph at his mercy

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Stuart RileyReporter

Published on 7 December 2020inNews

Last updated 18:48, 7 December 2020