Iceo pleases Nicholls at Kempton

Iceo made an impressive British debut for Paul Nicholls in the Ladbrokes We Play Together Introductory Juvenile Hurdle at Kempton.

A winner on his only previous start in France during the summer, the son of Coastal Path was the 9-4 favourite to follow up in the hands of Bryony Frost.

Iceo raced keenly from the start, but had plenty left to give from the home turn and ultimately left his rivals trailing in his wake. Rewired was 17 lengths behind in second.

Nicholls said: “I wasn’t sure what to expect, to be honest. Although he’d won, and I was very taken by the way he’d won in France, he had been very keen at home and we’d just been trying to get him to relax and get him fit and jumping well, so what he did out there today was going to show us really.

“We thought we’d get a lead in front for longer than we did. The other horse (Illico Des Places) lit him up early on, but once he got by him he dropped the bridle and obviously won very nicely.”

Betfair cut the winner to 16-1 from 50-1 for the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, but Nicholls warned: “For a horse like him the Triumph Hurdle is not necessarily the be all and end all.

“He’s a National Hunt horse of the future. If the Triumph Hurdle came up testing ground then you might look at it, but there’ll be nice races for him along the way and ultimately he’s a chaser of the future.

“We’re not too worried about Triumph Hurdles at the moment, unless he proves differently.”