By Tom Lee

Cheltenham Festival Clues: Five talking points from the weekend, as stars enhance Cheltenham Festival claims

By Tom Lee
Cheltenham Festival Clues: Goshen launched back into Champion Hurdle picture with fine win at Wincanton at the weekend.
Cheltenham Festival Clues: Goshen launched back into Champion Hurdle picture with fine win at Wincanton at the weekend.

Our resident columnist Tom Lee looks back at a sensational weekend of action which threw up a whole host of Cheltenham Festival clues, while he lauds a magnificent ride from Hugh Morgan in Ireland...

Goshen Triumph Provides Wincanton Wow Factor

It's well known racing's Moore family is a talented unit, one which comprises three superb jockeys; Ryan, Josh and Jamie, an ace dual-purpose trainer; Gary, plus an eloquent broadcaster in the shape of Hayley.

All have had their hands full recently, not least Flat jockey Ryan heading off to Saudi Arabia to ride Andrew Balding's Bangkok in the Saudi Cup, as well as Gary and Jamie teaming up nearer to home to try and restore the reputation of stable star Goshen

Lining up in Saturday's Grade 2 Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton, there's no question the five-year-old was on a serious retrieval mission, trying to restore a lofty reputation battered by a dismal showing when last seen, trailing in stonewall last in December's International Hurdle at Cheltenham, after which a fibrillating heartbeat was reported. 

There's no question this lad has superstar potential - anyone who witnessed his freak accident when unseating Jamie with the pair miles clear at the last in March's Triumph Hurdle, an incident which was in no way his rider's fault despite some of the nonsense doing the rounds at the time - will be well aware, but proving it out on the track is forever the key barometer. 

Cheltenham Festival Tips

Fast forward 11 months from the fateful day and the pair looked in rude health down at the start in Somerset, expecting a battle from re-opposing International Hurdle winner Song For Someone, plus recent Haydock giant slayer Navajo Pass

Jamie was clearly brimming with confidence having helped the frustrating 4/1 shot Dentley De Mee to break a long losing streak in the race prior, his only other mount on the card, and officially four minutes and a second later he'd piloted a 20/1 double.

Goshen won as he pleased. 

For anyone looking for a statement from the four-legged comeback kid, this was it. 

Goshen, restored to his best, purred around the West Country track's right-handed, galloping circuit, mercilessly applying maximum pressure from two out and dismissively coming clear for a 22-length victory. 

Speaking from his West Sussex bunker afterwards, the notoriously workaholic Gary told the press: "You can't believe how pleased I am. He looks like he's back. People don't know how much that meant to me. He's entitled to take his chance now (at Cheltenham) on what he's done here."

The Kingwell is a recognised trial for the Champion Hurdle, for which bookies now make the Authorized gelding a general 9/2 shout, tucked in third in the market behind the mares Honeysuckle and Epatante.

As long as they all get there in once piece it's got the makings of a day one cracker in just over three weeks' time.

Plus don't forget, names such as Bula, Alderbrook, Hors La Loi III and Katchit all did what Goshen will try and do - complete the Kingwell / Champion Hurdle double.

Cheltenham Festival Races

Recovery Position

Credit to young rider Hugh Morgan after he somehow miraculously overcame plenty of mid-race drama to guide Young Dev home in front in Sunday's 1.40 Navan.

Riding the 17/2 shot for Tipperary handler Denis Hogan, Morgan's right stirrup leather broke early on, meaning he rode without his irons for pretty much all of this three mile chase.

You'd imagine he'll be in some severe pain in the aftermath, but a brave and skilled rider paired with a willing mount turned out to be a winning combination, as the duo persisted to eventually come three quarters of a length to the good - an outcome which for much of a compelling race appeared deeply unlikely. 

Horsemanship at its very best.

Extraordinary. It's worth a watch!

Aintree In April Could Be Drama Destination

Form figures under rules of 2,1,1,2,1 suggest the top team of Donald McCain and Brian Hughes could have a star on their hands in the form of six-year-old Flemensfirth gelding Minella Drama

He impressed when landing the rescheduled listed Sidney Banks Novices' Hurdle at Market Raspberry on Sunday, benefitting from the application of a first-time hood to see out an extended two and a half miles with ease. 

He doesn't hold any Cheltenham entries, but the McCain family's traditional fondness for Aintree could well be the precursor to his spring target - look out for this exciting sort at a venue where an emphasis on speed will surely suit. 

Soaring To Festival Glory?

Jonjo O'Neill is enjoying a really good campaign, one which got better on Sunday afternoon as he landed Newbury's ever-competitive Betfair Handicap Hurdle for the second time (after Get Me Out Of Here back in 2010), with 17/2 chance Soaring Glory becoming his stable's 59th success of the season. 

Ridden by his son, Jonjo Jr, the six-year-old was in touch throughout and came away smartly to win by three lengths, a performance which tees him up for a crack at the Cheltenham Festival's opening race in three weeks.

Bookies generally offer this likeable sort at 10/1 and 12/1 (from 25's) for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle. He looks one to take seriously.

Cheltenham Festival Odds

No Shortage Of Spirit From Two Game Performers

Sunday's Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase at Newbury promised much on paper and delivered plenty on the racecourse as the front two home emerged with reputations enhanced. 

Trainer Alan King was non-committal about a Festival target for speedy winner Sceau Royal when interviewed afterwards by ITV, but it'll surely be the Queen Mother Champion Chase, for which the talented and versatile nine-year-old is 20/1 to go two places better than when third in 2019. 

A huge positive mention is also reserved for runner-up Champ - returning to the fray off a 347-day absence, one which included a wind op, the nine-year-old son of King's Theatre was dropping markedly in trip here, a canny move given you'd have expected him to pop up in the longer Denman Chase on the same card. 

Granted his previously unblemished Newbury record is no longer intact, but overall this was a fine effort from an animal now nine from 14 under rules.

Clearly as good as ever, last year's RSA hero will likely be cherry ripe for a tilt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup in three and a half weeks' time.  

The Irish will take him very seriously, as do bookmakers who offer Champ at 6/1.

Cheltenham Festival Free Bets
Advert Disclaimer
Horseracing.net is a free online resource which endeavour to provide helpful and useful content and odds comparison to its visitors. Please be advised that Horseracing.net accepts affiliate commission from the companies appearing on the site, and agreed commission levels impact the location and order in which the companies (and/or their products) are presented on the website. Any ratings that appear on this site is determined by our subjective opinion of the brand but also based on market share and reputation, each brand's conversion rates, commission paid to us and general consumer interest. Company listings on this page don't imply our endorsement. We do not feature all providers on the market. Except as expressly set forth in our terms and conditions, all statements and warranties regarding the information presented on this page are disclaimed. The information, including odds, which appear on this site is subject to change at any time.

100% Up To £50 Welcome Bonus + 25 Spins

#AD 18+ begambleaware.org; New bettors get 100% of deposit up to £50; Once per household; Min deposit £15 (no Skrill/Neteller); Wager a total of 8 times deposit + bonus, with max qualifying bet stake equal to your initial bonus amount; Bonus expires after 60 days; Min odds of 4/5 on singles, or 2/5 per leg for acca; Some bet types excluded; Free spins validity: 7 days; Free spins max. winnings = £100; See full terms; Terms apply.
Bet £10 Get £30 In Free Bets
#AD 18+. Play Safe. New customers using Promo code H30 only, Min £10/€10 stake,  min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15, free bets credited after  settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after  the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
Bet £10 Get £30 Free Bets (APP Only)
#AD New UK, IE & Malta customers only. 18+. Min £10/€10 first deposit using Debit Card or Trustly. Place a bet of £10 at min odds of 1.5. Free bets expire in 90 days. Full T&Cs apply.
Welcome Offer
#AD Bet £10 & Get £50 in Free Bets for new customers at bet365. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
Bet £10 Get £60 in Bonuses
#AD New UK customers only. Register using the promo code BETFRED60, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+) within 7 days of registration. First bet must be on Sports. £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. Full T&Cs apply.
Bet £20 & Get It Back As CASH If It Loses
#AD New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any Horse Racing market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using cards will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Money Back As Cash Up To £20
#AD Max £20 refund on first bet. Bet must be placed in first 7 days of account opening. Only deposits made via Debit Card will be eligible for the promotion. T&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £30 Free Bets + £10 Casino Bonus
#AD Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days • To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager bonus amount x40 within 14 days • Wagering req. vary by game • Withdrawal restrictions and Full T&C’s apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £30 Free Bets
#AD Offer includes a free £1 Race Index spread bet to try out our exciting 50-25-10 race markets. Place a £10 fixed odds bet at minimum odds of 1/2. Get 2 x £10 free fixed odds bets + 2 x £5 free Winning Favourites spread bets. Bet with live streaming on all racing and greyhounds! Ts&Cs Apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £20 In Free Bets
#AD Min stake £10. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). First bet only. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. Online UK customers only. 30 days to qualify for £20 in Free Bets. 18+. T&Cs apply
£25 Free Bet + 10 Free Spins
If your account has Sportsbook losses at the end of your first day's betting, QuinnBet will refund 50% of your losses as a Free Bet up to £25 (min 3 bets) Plus 10 Free Spins on Asgard Warriors. Even if your account is up, you're guaranteed a £5 Free Bet Plus 10 Free Spins provided you place at least 1 bet of £10 or greater at the minimum odds. T&Cs apply | 18+ New UK Customers Only | BeGambleAware.org
Latest racing results
Ffos Las
17:30
1stCoup De Force
2ndHandytalk
3rdSo Smart
Curragh
17:20
1stZoffman
2ndRare Middleton
3rdHibernia Oppositus
Epsom
17:05
1stMarlay Park
2ndHodler
3rdRich Waters
View All Today's Results