Horses To Follow » Frozen Fire

Frozen Fire

I wouldn’t be giving up on Frozen Fire just yet, despite the fact that he has now put in two apparently lack-lustre performances this season in two runs to date. On his first run of the season, he was involved in what was probably the most farcical race run this year to date, the three-runner Ormonde Stakes at Chester last month, when the runners went literally no faster than a canter for the first eight of the thirteen furlongs before picking it up and sprinting for the last three furlongs. Frozen Fire finished a heavily-eased last of the three. Last Friday in the Coronation Cup at Epsom, in another race that looked to be devoid of early pace, Johnny Murtagh decided to allow Frozen Fire stride on, but he was headed at the two-furlong pole, got involved in some scrimmaging with Buccellati, and finished fifth.

It is probable that you can put a line through this run as well. He had never made the running before. He is at his best when he is held up out the back and is allowed to pass horses but, in order for this to happen, he needs a pace. Last Friday, Murtagh obviously wanted to avoid the scenario that had developed in the Ormonde Stakes – and it wasn’t beyond the bounds of possibility that something similar would happen – and perhaps thought that he might steal a march on his rivals by going to the front from early. As an experiment and given the pace situation, it was worth trying once, but I would be amazed if the tactic were to be repeated with Frozen Fire.

The best run of the Montjeu colt’s life was obviously last June at The Curragh when he came from stone last off a really fast pace to win the Irish Derby. He won his maiden on his racecourse debut from off the pace, and he finished best of all in last year’s Dante to just go down by a head to Tartan Bearer.

He is turning into an unfashionable horse now among punters. He was 8/11 to win the Ormonde Stakes, much shorter than Buccellati was, yet you could have backed him at 10/1 in the early shows for the Coronation Cup while Buccellati was available at no bigger, despite the fact that the Ormonde Stakes really was a non-event in terms of future extrapolation.

After the Coronation Cup, it is probable that Frozen Fire will be downgraded further by the betting community, unjustly so. It is significant that he has been kept in training by the Coolmore team as a four-year-old, despite the fact that he has won an Irish Derby. Even though Coolmore had other three-year-olds to go to stud at the end of last season, they surely would not have persevered with this fellow if they did not think that he had more left to give. His dam’s half-sister, Flamingo Road, won a Group 2 contest as a four-year-old, and her half-brother, Flamingo Paradise, won a listed race as a five-year-old and another as a seven-year-old. It is quite possible that Frozen Fire will prove to be an even better four-year-old than he was a three-year-old. He hasn’t had his conditions in his two runs to date this season, and he is certainly worth at least one more chance, perhaps in the King George at Ascot in July, when perhaps Red Rock Canyon could be deployed to ensure that there is a decent gallop.

© The Irish Field, 13th June 2009