Ice Cold Soul (right): quickened clear to win by half a length
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
By Jon Lees 3:16PM 22 JAN 2017
Report: Leopardstown, Sunday
Coral.ie Hurdle (Grade B Handicap) 2m, 4yo+
THERE was no comeback victory for favourite Heartbreak City on his first start since his Melbourne Cup second as little considered Ice Cold Soul secured a valuable handicap double for Gigginstown House Stud.
Instead Heartbreak City’s trainer Tony Martin had to settle for second and third as Tudor City and Golden Spear emerged as the greater threat but ultimately came up two half lengths short of Ice Cold Soul, who landed the spoils for trainer Noel Meade and jockey Sean Flanagan. The 9-4 favourite Heartbreak City could finish only eighth
Flanagan had been declared to ride Meade first string De Name Escapes Me but when that horse was pulled out owing to the ground being too quick, he switched mounts leaving the unfortunate Jonathan Moore without a ride.
Ice Cold Soul led over the last and held a narrow advantage all the way to the line. He was introduced at 20-1 for the County Hurdle by Paddy Power.
Ice Cold Soul had only won once over hurdles and his reappearance in December was his first in a year.
Meade said: “This has been the plan for some time. He picked up a leg injury when he won here at Christmas 2015. We fired him and brought him back in a handicap here last month when he got into all sorts of trouble.
“He had a beautiful run today and was in a good position – in the box seat – all the way. Sean gave him a beautiful ride. I’d imagine he’ll head to Cheltenham for either the Coral Cup or the County Hurdle.”
Heartbreak City looked poised to throw down a challenge approaching the last but failed to pick up.
Martin said: “He’s run very well and looked a possibility going to the last, but he didn’t get home. You’d imagine he’d come on for the run.
“It was a long journey back from Australia and while we were happy with him going into the race you never know the score until you run them. I’ll talk to the boys [the Here For The Craic Syndicate] and make a plan.
“He could go to Dubai for the long distance race on World Cup night but there’s also Cheltenham to consider. We’ll wait and see.
“I was delighted with Tudor City (second) and Golden Spear (third). They ran blinders.”