Ice Cold Soul
This is clearly an open contest but he comes into the race on the back of a good win in a valuable handicap at Leopardstown last time. That was back in January and he is 10lb higher, but he doesn’t have many miles on the clock, good ground suits him well, and he has prospects.
He made an early exit at the third in the RSA, so at least he comes here a fresh horse. In fact, that was his first start since chasing home Thistlecrack in November and he is a horse who will be suited by this decent ground, as he showed when winning impressively for me at Downpatrick in September. He was very unlucky when falling at the last in a handicap hurdle at this meeting a couple of years ago, when he had every chance when his saddle slipped, but clearly Might Bite, in particular, and Whisper set a high standard for us to aim at. But I think he could run better than many are expecting on ground he will love. I sat on both him and Sub Lieutenant at Henry’s last week and was very happy with them both.
He has run five great races since joining Henry in the summer, winning his first two and being placed in his last three, and the hallmark of those performances is how well he has jumped. I rode him when he was third to Djakadam in the John Durkan and he has improved in defeat on his last two starts, most recently when second to Un De Sceaux in the Ryanair last time. He was the only one to get within hailing distance of the winner that day, closing on him all the way to the line, and you have to think conditions here will be ideal for him. He was tried over 3m+ last season but the step down in trip has brought about the progression this season, allied to his improved jumping. You have to give him a big chance against the Champion Chase horses stepping up in trip, though clearly you have to respect the likes of last year’s winner God’s Own and Fox Norton. But I’d be pretty confident of a very big run.
We were badly hampered at the first in the Ultima at Cheltenham last time and he probably ran a lot better than his finishing position would suggest there. I think the step down in trip from 3m1f to 2m5f will definitely suit him, and a mark of 152 is probably fair on the balance of his form this season, notably his second to Ballycasey at Gowran. He has never been out of the first three in as many starts here, winning a Grade 1 here two years ago, and if he takes to these fences he could give me a real good spin. But Clarcam is Clarcam, so be warned!
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