Iceo made an impressive British debut for Paul Nicholls in the Ladbrokes We Play Together Introductory Juvenile Hurdle in Kempton.
Winner of his only previous start in France over the summer, Coastal Path’s son was the 9-4 favorite to follow in the hands of Bryony Frost.
Iceo raced hard from the start but still had a lot to give from the home corner and eventually left his rivals behind him. Rewired was 17 lengths behind the second.
Nicholls said: “I wasn’t sure what to expect, to be honest. Although he had won, and I was very taken with the way he had won in France, he had been very enthusiastic in the house and we had just tried to get him to relax and put him in place. shape and jump well, so what he did out there today would really show us.
“We thought we had a longer lead than we did. The other horse (Illico Des Places) brightened him up early, but once he passed he let the reins fall and obviously won very well.”
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 isn’t necessarily the end of it all.
“He’s a national hunting horse of the future. If the Triumph Hurdle came out as a proving ground, you might look at it, but there will be good races for him along the way and ultimately he’s a chaser of the future.
“At the moment we are not too worried about Triumph Hurdles, unless it proves otherwise.”