Ice Cold Soul springs 20-1 upset for Meade and Gigginstown
Report: Leopardstown, Sunday
Coral.ie Hurdle (Grade B Handicap) 2m, 4yo+
Ice Cold Soul gave Gigginstown House Stud, better known for their achievements with chasers, a first win in this long-established handicap hurdle and provided trainer Noel Meade and jockey Sean Flanagan with a second victory in a race that has been run under different sponsorship titles over the years.
This running was the second under the Coral banner and 20-1 shot Ice Cold Soul scored by half a length and the same from the Tony Martin-trained pair Tudor City and Golden Spear, with the trainer's Ebor winner and Melbourne Cup runner-up Heartbreak City, who was sent off 9-4 favourite, back in eighth.
Flanagan, who took over as Meade's number one when Paul Carberry was forced to retire last year, had won this contest on the Liz Doyle-trained 50-1 shot Penny's Bill in 2009.
He had been originally declared to ride the Meade-trained De Name Escapes Me here, but when that horse was pulled out owing to the ground being too quick he switched mounts, leaving Jonathan Moore without a ride.
Meade, whose previous success in the race was with Glencloud in 1993, said: "When I got here this morning I couldn't believe how good the ground was. We decided it was too quick for De Name Escapes Me and that it would be just okay for Ice Cold Soul. It worked out well and Sean gave the horse a beautiful ride.
"Today's race has been the plan for some time. He picked up a slight leg injury when he won here at the Christmas meeting in 2015. We had him fired and brought him back in a handicap here last month, when he got into all sorts of trouble. It was a different story today. He had a beautiful position, in the box-seat all the way."
Regarding plans for the seven-year-old, a brother of Lexus Chase winner Outlander, Meade said: "I'd imagine he'll go to Cheltenham for either the Coral Cup or the County Hurdle."
He can be backed for either of those festival handicaps at 20-1.
The performances of Tudor City and Golden Spear delighted Martin, who also expressed himself "very happy" with Heartbreak City's performance.
"Heartbreak City ran very well and looked a possibility going to the last before fading on the run-in," he said. "He just didn't get home, but considering he's been to Australia and back I'm very happy with him.
"I'll talk to the owners and make a plan. There's Cheltenham and other hurdle races to consider and we'll also look at the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan on World Cup night.
"We'll see how he comes out of today's race. You'd hope that he will improve a bit for it."