Goshen - top of the shop after Wincanton

Cheltenham Festival: Goshen tops two mile division


Goshen advertised his wellbeing in no uncertain terms with an electric success in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton on Saturday, earning a Timeform rating of 163 that propels him to the head of a two-mile division that is at its healthiest for years.

As recently as last month the Champion Hurdle was looking like an underwhelming affair that would set few pulses racing, but the picture is now different following Honeysuckle's impressive victory in the Irish Champion Hurdle and Goshen's resurgence.

Throw into the mix last year's impressive winner Epatante and the Champion Hurdle is now the battleground between three potentially top-class horses, and one of the most fascinating conundrums of the Festival.

Goshen earned a Timeform rating of 163 for his 22-length triumph in the Kingwell. The race rather fell apart as neither Song For Someone nor Navajo Pass gave their running, but the way Goshen tanked through the contest and continued to draw clear in the straight was hugely impressive, while the time, which compares well with the other races at the distance on the card, adds substance to the visual interpretation.

That effort did not just represent a return to form for Goshen following three below-par display on the Flat and over jumps, but it was a career-best and the outstanding performance on the figures from a two-mile hurdler this season.

It doesn't identify Goshen as the one to beat in the Champion Hurdle, however, as the mares Honeysuckle (160) and Epatante (157) will both be receiving 7 lb so come out ahead on weight-adjusted ratings.

Goshen will probably need to find extra to prevail at the Cheltenham Festival, but that is by no means beyond the realms of possibility considering how easily he's been winning. His four wins over hurdles have been by a cumulative margin of 90 lengths, while he was ten lengths clear when unseating at the final flight in the Triumph Hurdle.

He will get the chance to show his true worth on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, which also features a fascinating clash between Shishkin, Energumene and Allmankind in the Sporting Life Arkle.

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