Icare Allen makes dream debut at Leopardstown

Icare Allen made a winning debut on Irish turf when taking the Paddy Power “We Love A Good Christmas Jumper” 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle for Willie Mullins.

The three-year-old was previously trained by Anne-Sophie Pacault in France but changed hands earlier in the year and now runs in the silks of JP McManus.

Starting as the 13/8 favourite after winning his sole bumper start on the continent, the Mark Walsh-ridden gelding strode to a comfortable success – crossing the line three lengths ahead of Peter Fahey’s 80/1 shot Privilege.

“He’s a lovely horse and he did it very well,” said Mullins.

“He has been working well at home and in fact the only bad bit of work he did was the one day I brought him away to see how good he was – he worked desperately.”

Betfair cut the winner to 14/1 from 25/1 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, and Mullins added: “I think he’s one that will go up through the ranks in those juvenile hurdles. The Dublin Racing Festival would look an obvious target at this point.

“He was very green over the first and was very green when he hit the front. I think there is improvement in him.”