Gigginstown secure big race double at Leopardsotwn
Ice Cold Soul sprang a surprise to give Gigginstown House Stud a big-race double in the Coral.ie Handicap Hurdle at Leopardstown.
Successful with A Toi Phil in the Leopardstown Handicap Chase, the Gigginstown colours were again to the fore as the 20-1 chance took the honours.
Ridden by Sean Flanagan, who replaced Jonathan Moore, the Noel Meade-trained seven-year-old was always in a good position as Hidden Cyclone and Thomas Hobson set a steady pace.
With the rail to help, Ice Cold Soul jumped the final flight in front and had enough in reserve to see off his rivals.
The Tony Martin-trained pair of Tudor City and Golden Spear were second and third respectively, with Derulo fourth.
Martin was also responsible for the 9-4 favourite Heartbreak City, who could never quite get into a challenging position after being held up.
Meade said: "This has been the plan all along. He got a bit of a leg last year after he won here and it took a bit of time getting him back.
"He got into all sorts of trouble here at Christmas. I was talking to Michael (O'Leary) afterwards and said 'maybe it's for luck for the big one'. He said 'oh he'll get into trouble in that as well'.
"Everything went well and he was in the perfect position the whole way. He got a beautiful ride, jumped great and stayed well.
"I'd say the plan will be either the County Hurdle or the Coral Cup (at Cheltenham).
"He's a full-brother to Outlander and the Coral Cup could certainly come into it, but I don't think it'll be about the bonus (100,000 euro for winner of the Leopardstown race and Coral Cup). It just depends on what race we think is right."
He went on: "It's been working great with Sean. He's a very good rider and his confidence is improving every day.
"We get on very well together. He rides a lot of work. I enjoy the way he rides and the conversations afterwards. He's a great schooling jockey, he has a great pair of hands and everything you want.
"Paul (Carberry) recommended him in the beginning. He said 'I've never seen him ever him do anything wrong. I don't think you'll get anyone better - he's the most underrated jockey in the weighing room'.
"I feel sorry for Johnny (Moore) because he was meant to ride him, but Sean is the number one and when the other horse (De Name Escapes Me) came out he had to switch.
"Sean has been very lucky for Gigginstown and they were happy to have him ride. There will be another day for Johnny."
Flanagan said: "I was in the box seat the whole way and never had any hassle. I was wondering beforehand about the ground, but he loved it."
Martin said of Heartbreak City, who had to settle for eighth place but was not beaten too far: "He ran a blinder and hopefully he can come on a bit from the run.
"He had a long journey back from Australia and it was a grand first run back. He can do nothing only improve off it.
"He arrived down to the last with a sporting chance, but didn't get home. We'll have a chat with the owners now. He ran a very respectable race and jumped well, so there is no bother that way.
"There is the World Cup meeting in Dubai, all going well, and then we have options over hurdles as well.
"The others ran blinders - they all ran good races. Gladiator King ran well enough too, unfortunately he missed the third-last. You'd be happy with them all."