Trainer Mick Mulvany believes there is plenty to look forward to with both In From The Cold and The King Of Kells after the pair finished first and third respectively in the Madrid Handicap at Naas.
Having been off the track since winning over the course and distance in November, In From The Cold was marginally the bigger price of the two at 8-1 – with The King Of Kells a 13-2 chance off the back of finishing third at Dundalk 10 days earlier.
However, despite meeting trouble in running, In From The Cold ran out an authoritative winner – scooping almost 30,000 euros – with his stable companion only a couple of lengths behind.
Mulvany said: “Both horses ran well. I’d said beforehand there wouldn’t be too much between them at home and that the only worry for The King Of Kells would be getting the trip (seven furlongs) in the heavy ground – that’s the way it worked out.
“I think over a shorter trip The King Of Kells would probably beat the other fella – but In From The Cold won well on the day, and I think they’re two very nice horses going forward.
“In From The Cold could easily step up to a mile and a quarter at some stage, whereas The King Of Kells could run in some of those big sprints over an extended six furlongs.
“With the racing cancelled (during the coronavirus pandemic), I haven’t had a proper look to see where they might go – because the whole programme might end up getting changed.”
Mulvany saddled four runners on the opening day of the Irish Flat turf season – which proved to be the penultimate day of racing in Ireland for several weeks as the Irish Government subsequently announced the cancellation of all sporting events until at least April 19.
The County Meath-based trainer was also pleased with the performance of The Blue Panther to finish third in the opening two-year-old race of 2020 – while Comfort Line looks a surefire future winner, judged on his fourth placed finish in the concluding three-year-old maiden.
“The two-year-old ran well, but would definitely want better ground,” added Mulvany.
“I think he’s a potentially a very nice horse going forward, and the horse that ran in the last has huge potential as well.
“We kind of set out to have a good start to the season, before the big guns really get going – it gives us the opportunity to punch above our weight a little bit.
“It is a shame we’ve had to stop racing, but we’ve had a nice start by winning a good pot – and all four horses ran well.”