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Matt Chapman is back and discusses a tough year for Jamie Moore – who gets back aboard Goshen at Cheltenham on Saturday

FEW know what jockey Jamie Moore and his family have gone through over the last nine months.

But those who do will be roaring on Champion Hurdle hope Goshen on ITV at Cheltenham today.

You see, however hard you have found the year of Covid-19, the chances are your troubles are nothing to what the Moore family has had to endure.

“It’s been terrible, just a terrible year,” Jamie told me, before detailing a sequence of events which will leave you shocked while confirming what most have long known – that this is a man oozing decency.

Imagine, for a moment, you are a jump jockey lying in the turf after being unseated in a handicap chase.

You know you are broken up. Experience tells you that at the very least your sternum is smashed.

But as you stare up from the ground, and the ambulance crew come to your aid, you are well enough to remember it’s a Tuesday.

And that’s important, because every Tuesday your wife is in hospital for on-going treatment, and you have three kids at home.

So there you are, with serious injuries and the pain kicking in, and all you can think about is your family.

This was Jamie Moore after Alka Step got rid of him at Fontwell on August 18.

“I could move my legs so I thought that’s good,” Moore said. “But then every time I was breathing, my sternum was clicking.

“I said to the doctors I’ve broken my sternum and I’m pretty sure I’ve broken my back.

“I then said can you take me to Brighton hospital – instead of going to Chichester – so I can be closer to my family? All I could think about was the kids and my wife Lucie.”

Moore was unseated from Goshen with the Triumph at his mercy in March

All this, of course, came on the back of disaster for Moore at the Cheltenham Festival, when he was unseated from Goshen at the final flight of the JCB Triumph Hurdle. The pair was ten lengths clear at the time with the race at their mercy.

Subsequent analysis showed that Goshen effectively tripped himself up, giving Moore little hope of staying on board.

But the defeat continues to hurt the rider.

“I was absolutely devastated at the time and I still am, although Lucie’s treatment has put perspective on it,” continued Moore, whose incredible rehabilitation efforts meant that he returned to action the other day.

“I still feel I let people down, although I’m sure I would have sat it if his legs hadn’t got caught up.

“As I said it’s just been a terrible year. What happened with Goshen, my fall, Lucie’s health plus then the kids all had to move schools.

“On the back of all that, it would mean so much if Goshen wins on Saturday – it’s incredibly important to me. I know he’s a good horse. A really good horse.

“I was lucky enough to sit on a good one in Sire De Grugy who won the Champion Chase, and I want that feeling again.”

Cometh the hour, of course, cometh the man. And Moore is the ultimate geezer. It’s hard to have anything but total respect for him as a ‘gives it 100% jockey’ and person.

Moore’s father, trainer Gary, expects a bold show from Goshen who faces nine decent rivals – including talented Sceau Royal and Ascot winner Song For Someone – over an extended two miles in today’s Grade 2 Unibet International Hurdle.

The son of Authorized returns to jumps after two spins on the Flat during the autumn when well held at Haydock and Goodwood.

“This should give us a really good line for us if he is a Champion Hurdle contender or not,” Moore Snr said. “They’re no mugs.

“He’s been working very well through the autumn and I’m very happy with him, although he missed a race at Ascot the other day because he wasn’t quite 100 per cent.

“I was disappointed with the first run on the Flat when he was last at Haydock but his effort at Goodwood was far better. I was very happy with it.”

Away from the International, most eyes will be on this afternoon’s big betting race, the Grade 3 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, in which Coole Cody tries to follow up his Paddy Power Gold Cup success.

The big difference, other than a 6lb rise in the weights, is that Tom O’Brien loses the mount to usual partner Adam Wedge who returns from injury. I wish him well.

On a day when I hope the light shines bright for Moore, there are many other Cheltenham races which promise to be illuminating contests.

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