Gary Moore is “desperate” to run Goshen in Saturday’s Unibet International Hurdle at Cheltenham.
It will mean a return to the scene of his unseating of Jamie Moore at the Cheltenham Festival in March, when the Triumph Hurdle was all but won.
Goshen had been in the frame to run in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton in early November and then the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, but missed both engagements and Moore accepts time is now getting on.
Moore said: “We’re really looking to it, he’s been very good the last few weeks.
“He had a little school this morning, in the indoor school, and he was very quick and accurate and I couldn’t be happier.
“People were quite rude about his jumping before Cheltenham, but I was convinced it would be fine and it was – apart from what happened at the last and that was just a freak accident. Otherwise he was spot on at everything.
“We’ll see if our grass is good enough to work on in the morning and if it is he’ll do his last piece of work. He’ll be scoped afterwards and all being well he’ll head to Cheltenham.”
Goshen has been back on the Flat since he last ran over hurdles and having won his previous three outings in that sphere he was a short-priced favourite at both Haydock and Goodwood but was beaten both times.
“I just felt the Wincanton (Elite) race was coming a bit too quick after Goodwood, where he harder a harder race than I would have liked him to have done,” said Moore, speaking on a call hosted by Great British Racing on Monday.
“After that he just wasn’t quite himself. The week of the Newcastle race his work wasn’t A1 and his scope wasn’t perfect.
“It’s been very frustrating, for the owners especially, but I don’t want to run a horse who isn’t 110 per cent right in top-class races.
“I’m desperate to get to Cheltenham, the only way he wouldn’t run is if he’s not well or there is firm in the going description.”
Moore has tasted Cheltenham Festival glory in the Champion Chase with Sire De Grugy, but admits Goshen is already the best hurdler he has trained.
“He’s the best hurdler I’ve had, obviously Sire De Grugy was a very good horse but he wouldn’t have been as good over hurdles as this lad, he was always going to be a chaser,” said Moore.
“With this lad I’d be in no rush to go over fences unless he wasn’t good enough to hold his own in a Champion Hurdle and other big races.”
Goshen’s mishap in the Triumph will be the abiding memory of the Festival for many, but the trainer himself has long moved on.
“We won’t be thinking of what he did in the Triumph. I’m quite old now, but I’ve never seen any horse do what he did before in all the time I’ve been racing,” said Moore.
“Dan Skelton was the only person I’ve spoken to since who said he’d seen it happen. It was just a freak thing.
“We’ve messed about with his shoes, but I can’t believe it would happen again. We just make sure there’s no overhang on the shoes as his back foot caught his front foot. We just make sure there’s nothing to get hooked on.
“It’s been spoken about too much, it’s boring me now. It was just a freak accident and I’ve completely put it out of my mind.”
Goshen is ridden by Moore’s son, Jamie, not long back from a serious injury and who was among the winners at Sandown on Friday and Saturday.
“Jamie has got his eye back in again which is good as it was worrying me that he would have to ride Goshen in a big race before he was back at his best, but he’s got his confidence back now,” said Moore.
“It was the second time he’d broken his back, and he broke it in four places. I wasn’t sure if he would come back. He’s had his first fall since coming back and he was fine afterwards so that’s a relief.
“As long as he runs, they’ll have him to beat. If he can’t win on Saturday he shouldn’t be going for the Champion Hurdle.”
Goshen is one of 10 entries for the Grade Two feature this weekend, with Elite winner and Fighting Fifth Hurdle runner-up Sceau Royal in contention for Alan King.
Call Me Lord took top honours last season for Nicky Henderson and could clash once more with runner-up Ballyandy (Nigel Twiston-Davies) third-placed Ch’Tibello (Dan Skelton). Henderson is also represented by the smart mare Verdana Blue.
Evan Williams will be hoping for better luck with Silver Streak, who was carried out at the second hurdle at Newcastle, while the Tom Symonds-trained Song For Someone will be bidding to follow up his Coral Hurdle success from Ascot.
Stormy Ireland (Paul Nicholls) and Summerville Boy (Tom George) complete the list of possibles.