Goshen continued his relentless march towards the Triumph Hurdle when extending his unbeaten record with facile front-running success in the Ascot IJF Ambassador Programme Juvenile Hurdle.
The Gary Moore-trained four-year-old left his rivals toiling as he added to victories at Fontwell and Sandown, defying a double penalty to defeat Nordano by 11 lengths, having settled much better in front than in both his previous victories.
Moore said of the 1-5 favourite: “We haven’t learnt a great deal. Coming here I left a fair bit to work on and Jamie (Moore) said he had a fair bit of a blow turning in.
“He was as cool as a cucumber before the race – before he has been edgy. As soon as horses come to him he just goes though, but what can you do about that?
“He doesn’t ever overly show that ability at home. He is best juvenile I’ve had by a mile.”
Looking ahead, Moore has not ruled out running Goshen again before Cheltenham and the Triumph, for which he was left unchanged at 7-1 by Betfair.
He added: “We’ve only got two options, either the Victor Ludorum or the Adonis. That is if he has to run again, as he is a fairly clear-winded horse.
“There is probably a big day on the Flat in him somewhere.”
Jamie Neild enjoyed a day to remember with his first winner under rules, steering the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained 20-1 chance Townshend – who is owned by his father, John – to victory in the Matchbook Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase.
The 24-year-old said: “It’s an indescribable feeling. Coming to the last I think the occasion got to me a bit. I should have left him alone, but thankfully he got the job done.”
Neild senior, whose colours are synonymous with now-retired Betfair Hurdle and BetVictor Gold Cup hero Splash Of Ginge, said: “He has come such a long way, as he had never sat a horse until he was 19. I’m a bit speechless, which is unusual for me!
“We retired Splash Of Ginge and that was the end of an era. That feels as good as anything we’ve done before.”
Sean Curran celebrated his biggest victory since being back in the training ranks after Domaine De L’Isle (5-1) claimed a last-gasp success in the bet365 Handicap Chase.
Having only returned to training in November 2018 following a spell of more than three years away from the sport, the former jockey was on hand to watch the seven-year-old complete a hat-trick of wins over fences.
He said: “The way the ground is out there at the moment it suited as being a French horse he can handle it. He was put up 20lbs for his last two wins and the handicapper was right to be fair.
“I’d be looking at the Welsh National later in the year, as by the time he gets another summer on his back he will have strengthened up.”
Falco Blitz got on top from the last to take the Matchbook British EBF ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier).
Jerry McGrath brought the Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old with a well-timed run to challenge long-time leader Faustinovick, who ruined his chance with a mistake at the final flight.
Falco Blitz (2-1 favourite) took a handy advantage before hanging on by three-quarters of a length from Blackfinch, who rallied late on.