The unbeaten Goshen has some strong form in the book, so – at 3/1 with BetVictor – he looks the one to be on in the 2m Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle that gets proceedings underway on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival this Friday (13:30).
This Gary Moore trained four-year-old looked a smart recruit to the hurdling ranks when making all and winning eased down by 23 lengths at Fontwell back in November.
He then put in a devastating display at Sandown when again running his rivals ragged and slamming Thyme White – a subsequent winner of a Listed contest at Musselburgh – by 34 lengths
Goshen disposed of a smart highly-regarded Paul Nicholls inmate with consummate ease and it was a display which suggested he needed keeping firmly onside.
That view was confirmed when Goshen landed the hat-trick last time out at Sandown when registering a facile wide-margin success on Clarence House Chase day.
The son of Authorized defied a double penalty to defeat Nordano by 11 lengths easing down.
He settled much better than previously, but did jump out markedly to the right on several occasions – as he had in his previous two starts.
That has to be a slight concern here. However, Goshen was found to have lost both his front shoes after the race, so that may have been a contributory factor.
Moore also rates him the best juvenile he has ever trained. Nordano has since won a valuable and competitive 15-runner class 2 handicap at Ascot by 16 lengths to give the form a rock solid look.
Goshen clearly has a huge engine and appeals as the type to go on progressing. So, providing he doesn’t give away too much ground by jumping right, he is going to be tough to beat.
Solo highest rated in Triumph Hurdle and feared most
Solo posted a stunning success on his British debut in the Grade 2 Adonis at Kempton, so rates the main danger to Goshen in a fierce renewal of the Triumph Hurdle.
The ex-French trained four-year-old, who was sent off the 6/4 favourite, turned the 2m contest into a procession on his first start for champion trainer Paul Nicholls when slamming the previously unbeaten Fujimoto Flyer by 13 lengths
After racing at the head of affairs and jumping well throughout, Solo drew effortlessly clear in the home straight under Harry Cobden to win easing down.
It was visually an awesome display and one which saw the Johnny de la Hey owned gelding shoot to the head of the ante post betting for this.
The last time Nicholls completed the Adonis and Triumph Hurdle double was with Zarkandar back in 2011, and Solo is 100/30 with Paddy Power to follow in that one’s footsteps.
However, for all that Solo was impressive on the eye, there has to be question marks over whether those in-behind ran to the level of form that they are capable of.
The British Horse Authority’s handicapper clearly doesn’t agree, as he has given Solo a lofty revised rating of 157.
That is the highest in this 13-runner line-up and just 2lb lower than what Epatanate was rated before winning the Champion Hurdle here so impressively on the opening day.
It puts Solo 5lb and 9lb clear of Goshen and Allmankind respectively, but the worry is that both those rivals also like to force the pace.
They are also more experienced, so at the odds on offer Solo looks opposable for all that he has bags of untapped potential,
Allmankind another leading Triumph Hurdle contender
Having also impressed in winning all three of his starts over the obstacles, Allmankind looks a big player for trainer Dan Skelton.
This four-year-old son of German Derby winner Sea The Moon could not have won more easily on hurdling debut when making all to slam Gaia Vallis by 37 lengths at Warwick.
He was then turned out quickly just eights days later and put in an astonishing performance when landing the Grade 2 Prestbury Juvenile Hurdle at this venue.
Allmankind pulled like a train and raced freely at the head of affairs right from the off.
He looked to be doing far too much too soon but, when shaken up turning for home, he found plenty to beat Botox Has by 2 1/2 lengths.
The front two pulled well clear of the third home and some highly-touted types, while the runner-up went on to score in fine style next time up at Sandown to give the form a boost.
Allmankind has since landed a Grade 1 at Chepstow in similar style when impressively beating Cerberus by nine lengths.
The fact that he already has winning form at this track and level are obvious pluses, but there has to be worries that he will be taken on for the lead and Allmankind is clearly not straightforward.
At odds of 4/1 with 888sport, he therefore looks plenty short enough and opposable on this occasion.
A Wave Of The Sea each-way value
As Allmankind, Goshen and Solo all like to force the pace, so the Triumph Hurdle could well be set up for a closer.
Irish raider A Wave Of The Sea fits that bill, so at 14/1 with William Hill makes plenty of each-way appeal.
This JP McManus owned son of Born To the Sea, who hails from the yard of Joseph O’Brien, has won three of his six starts over hurdles.
He comes into this on the back of a career-best performance when landing the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown by just over a length from Wolf Prince.
After racing towards the rear, A Wave Of The Sea made good headway approaching two out. He was the closing and left in second when leader Aspire Tower came to grief at the last.
A Wave Of The Sea then stayed on strongly to win going away at the line and score a shade cosily in the end.
Many thought that Aspire Tower still had something left in the locker, but he was being strongly pressed by the pack when crashing out and the way in which A Wave Of The Sea finished off so powerfully suggests he may well have won if Henry De Bromhead’s charge had managed to stay on his feet.
It’s all about opinions, but if that is the case then there is no way that A Wave Of The Sea should be available to be backed at more than double the odds of Aspire Tower for this contest.
He therefore had to be the each-way selection under Barry Geraghty who is riding like a man possessed and the leading jockey at this meeting at the time of writing.