Gary Moore is backing Goshen to revive his Unibet Champion Hurdle claims by getting his career back on track in the Betway Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton on Saturday week.
The trainer has earmarked the Grade Two contest as the next target for the five year old ahead of a return trip to the Cheltenham Festival, where he unseated Jamie Moore 12 months ago at the final flight while holding a clear lead in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.
Goshen was discovered to have an irregular heartbeat after failing to beat a rival home on his sole outing this season, the International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December. However, Moore reports his stable star to be back firing on all cylinders.
He said: “The plan is to go to Wincanton for the Kingwell. We would have taken a look at the race at Huntingdon that was scheduled today. I nearly entered him for Wetherby next Wednesday but I decided against it and decided to just wait for Wincanton.
“I might do something stupid and also enter him in the National Spirit in case Wincanton is off. I don’t really want him to go straight to Cheltenham and I want to run him somewhere beforehand.
“Everything has been fine with his heart and the only thing that has been wrong is the weather. It’s not been ideal.”
With Goshen appearing to take a keen hold when trying to be ridden with more restraint on his last start, Moore confirmed that he is likely to switch him back to the front-running tactics that have served him so well in the past.
He said: “We would see what else is in the race at the time but I guess we would like to just let him go out from the front. He has to win or run well really to go for the Champion Hurdle as it is looking a tough race.
“I’d have to speak to Jamie (Moore) and the owner if he did get beat and take things on board and see how he comes out of the race.”
Meanwhile a trip to Haydock Park on the same day for the William Hill Extra Places Every Day Juvenile Hurdle is on the agenda for stablemate and leading JCB Triumph Hurdle contender Nassalam.
The John Stone-owned four year old suffered his first defeat in Britain when finding Adagio too strong bidding for a hat-trick in last month’s re-arranged Grade One Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow.
Moore added: “I was very disappointed I couldn’t go to Cheltenham the other weekend. Hopefully he will be able to go to Haydock next weekend.
“We just got beaten by a better horse on the day at Chepstow. My only slight school of thought is that he is better suited to heavy ground and the time of the race at Chepstow suggests it wasn’t that on the day.
“It was the first time he had really been in a battle with another horse, even though the winner passed us very quickly, but hopefully he will learn from that and that’s why I’m keen to run him again.”