Kinloch Brae preview: American Tom steps in to the unknown at Thurles

Sun 21 Jan 2018

Connections of the Willie Mullins-trained American Tom admit they are taking a step into the "unknown" as the lightly-raced seven-year-old tries the two-and-a-half-mile trip in the Grade Three Horse & Jockey Hotel Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles on Sunday.

The Rich Ricci-owned gelding, who has been restricted to just five career starts, finished a creditable third at the same level over two miles on his return to action at Naas in November.

Assistant trainer Patrick Mullins said: "It is the first time we have tried American Tom over two and a half miles so the trip is a little bit of a unknown.

"He looks to be well in at the ratings as he is getting a lot of weight from the horses at the top, so the conditions of the race suit him.

"He has had his fair share of setbacks. He is quite a big, tall horse and sometimes they just need a bit of time.

"We were happy enough with his comeback, but it just looked like he needed the run. He is quite an exuberant jumper that likes to get on with things.

"There are little options for a horse like this, but it is great prize-money and we like to support Thurles."

Vincent Halley has his eye on a potential tilt at next month's Unibet Irish Gold Cup should Grade Two-winning chaser Arctic Skipper make an encouraging enough return on his first start in 389 days.

He said: "I'd imagine he will improve for it. He is in good form and he has had a gallop on the grass and is working nicely. We are looking forward to running him.

"He got very bad colic and it took him a long time to get over that and he has had problems with his wind, so he has had a wind procedure.

"He is in at Leopardstown in two weeks' time in the Irish Gold Cup, but will see how he comes out of it then make a plan.

"He had good form as a novice in those Graded races, but I think we will be happy if he just runs well as he has been off for a long time."

Jessica Harrington, who claimed the race 12 months ago with subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Sizing John, will rely upon Woodland Opera, while Noel Meade's Nambour is a non-runner.

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