Will Goshen ever be the same horse again?

Goshen was the horse on the name on everyone’s lips ahead of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival. Image for illustration only

Will Goshen ever be the same horse again?

Goshen was the horse on the name on everyone’s lips ahead of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival. Gary Moore’s charge arrived at the Festival on the back of six wins on the bounce, ready to make a name for himself on the grand stage in the Triumph Hurdle.

A dominant victory would send Goshen on the path towards the Champion Hurdle in years to come – perhaps matching modern-day greats such as Buveur D’Air. It appeared that the French thoroughbred was on the way to a win that would begin his journey at the Festival in the perfect manner. Goshen was well clear of the field in the event and only needed to clear one more fence before crossing the line. However, a mistake by jockey Jamie Moore resulted in the horse unseating his rider, missing out on a sure spot in the winners’ circle.

Since then the bay gelding has been on a downward trend, and whereas last season he could have been considered a leading contender for the Champion Hurdle, he is now a rank outsider in the odds on the horse racing betting exchange in the 2021 race. Goshen still has tremendous talent, although he is now battling potential jitters on the racecourse as well as strong competitors.

His hopes for the future could well be dashed after being found with an irregular heartbeat. Goshen will not race again over the Christmas period and his preparations for Cheltenham Festival could be impacted. The ailment could explain his underwhelming performances since his mistake in March, although on the other hand, it may be a lack of form on the track.


The four-year-old made his first appearance since his Triumph Hurdle failure at Haydock Park in September. Although the French thoroughbred was the leading contender for the race, he underwhelmed down the stretch, fading from the lead all the way down to last place in the Close Brothers Premium Finance Handicap.

Hector Crouch took to the saddle for a second attempt at reviving Goshen’s fortunes. At Goodwood, the horse was again the top contender in the field. However, the four-year-old lacked the pace when it mattered the most in the closing stages of the race. And although he staged an improvement to finish in third, he was well off competing for the win against Natural History.

On his return to Cheltenham at the International Hurdle, Jamie Moore took the reins in a bid to banish their demons from the Triumph Hurdle. There was optimism that Goshen could rise to the occasion with the bookies placing confidence in him as the favourite. That confidence was shattered due to his failure in the closing stages, falling off the pace as he approached the final two hurdles. Goshen brought up the rear after a brief challenge for the lead, leaving trainer Gary Moore to wonder whether the French thoroughbred will ever be the same again.

Goshen’s health problems are concerning, but there could be a fundamental issue that Moore must cater to ahead of another run at Cheltenham. The four-year-old has the talent, but whether he can overcome his problems down the stretch is another matter.

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