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Champion designs: Gary Moore admits Kingwell Hurdle pivotal for Goshen

Fri 19 Feb 2021

By Graham Clark of The Jockey Club

Gary Moore says he “could not be happier” with Goshen ahead of his attempt to book a return ticket to the Cheltenham Festival in the Betway Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton on Saturday.

The talented five-year-old will bid to return to winning ways and revive his Unibet Champion Hurdle chances by opening his account for the campaign in the Grade Two contest.

Since unseating Jamie Moore at the final flight in last season’s JCB Triumph Hurdle when holding a clear lead, things have been anything but plain sailing for the son of Authorized.

 Goshen will seek to get back on track at Wincanton (Focusonracing)
Goshen will seek to get back on track at Wincanton (Focusonracing)

Having suffered defeats on the Flat at Haydock and Goodwood, the Steven Packham-owned gelding failed to beat a rival home on his sole jumps outing this season in the Grade Two International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December, when it was later discovered he had a fibrillating heart.

Moore said: “It’s a tough looking race and it will be either a good day or a bad day and we will find out on Saturday whether we still have a horse good enough for the Champion Hurdle.

“His build up has all been very good though last week was a bit of a nightmare with the weather as we couldn’t really gallop him with everything being frozen. He has probably missed a gallop therefore but he seems fit enough and I couldn’t be happier with him.

“He has not had any away days but in the current situation it is very difficult to find somewhere to go. I’d like to think he is a fairly clean winded horse though he has never been a flashy worker.

“The whole Cheltenham trip was a complete waste of time and we found him to have an irregular heartbeat afterwards but he appears fine now.

“Conditions will be fine although it is probably the sharpest track he has probably run on so he will have to be at the top of his game. There are a few that like to go forward in the race, but I will leave the tactics up to Jamie (Moore).”

Champion jockey Brian Hughes is looking forward to getting back on board Navajo Pass, who secured victory at the same level under Sean Quinlan last time out when defeating dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air in The New One Unibet Hurdle at Haydock Park.

Hughes said of the Donald McCain-trained five year old: “He won well the last day and he loves this sort of ground. It’s a good race but he fully deserves to take his chance.

“He seems in good form and hopefully with a bit of luck he will run well. Adrian Lane rides him out most days and he says he is happy with him so that is good enough for me.

“The first couple of runs he improved fitness wise and finished better each time before taking a good opportunity at Musselburgh and then going in at Haydock.

“Buveur D’Air is a good horse and he will probably come on for that run but taking nothing away from our lad as he was the best on the day and he kept rolling away from the front.

Luck On Sunday: Learn more about Tom Symonds, the trainer of Song For Someone

“After their juvenile season it can be hard but he was a big strong lad last season and he should still be progressing and although he has run on the Flat he was purchased very much as a jumper. This is a different day on a different track but fingers crossed he will run well.”

Song For Someone claimed the race 12 months ago when it was re-staged at Kempton Park and his trainer Tom Symonds hopes the six year old can become just the sixth horse to win the two-mile contest on more than one occasion back at its traditional home.

Since his victory in last season’s race Song For Someone has added further Grade Two triumphs to his name in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot and International Hurdle at Cheltenham, where he had Goshen in behind.

Symonds said: “At Ascot people were talking about Laurina and at Cheltenham it was the same with Goshen. I don’t mind people talking about other horses and sneaking under the parapet as he just gets on with it.

“He has just filled out his frame now but he is still only six so he is not an old horse and I don’t want to over egg him.

“Some horses take extra mileage but that is not our style or the owner’s style and we like to give them time. This has been facilitated by winning those big races this season.

“He was behind Silver Streak at the top of the hill and he was giving him a few pounds. It was great to see him win the Christmas Hurdle as it gives you a guide as to where you are.”

The six-runner field is completed by Friend Or Foe, who will attempt to give trainer Paul Nicholls a fifth win in the race, Esprit Du Large from the yard of Evan Williams and Calgary Tiger, who will represent William de Best-Turner.

Since the Betway Kingwell Hurdle was first staged in 1971, seven winners have also landed the Betway Champion Hurdle– Bula, Lanzarote, Kirbensis, Alderbrook, Hors La Loi III. Katchit and Binocular. Katchit was the latest to win both races in the same year (2008).

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