De Bromhead and Mullins target Fighting Fifth spoils
Saturday's Fighting Fifth Hurdle is shaping up to have a strong Irish representation after both Wicklow Brave and Identity Thief were supplemented for the Newcastle showpiece.
The inclusion of the pair takes the number of possible runners for the Grade One feature at Gosforth Park on Saturday to 11.
Identity Thief is a lightly-raced five-year-old from Henry de Bromhead's string and carries the Gigginstown House Stud colours. A smart novice last season, he showed that he was a progressive sort when winning the Grade Two WKD Hurdle at Down Royal last month on what was his first run since April.
Wicklow Brave has been kept on the go all year by Willie Mullins - both on the Flat and over jumps - but shows no signs of slowing down and was a respectable third behind stablemate Nichols Canyon in Punchestown's Morgiana Hurdle earlier this month.
Mullins has also left in Arctic Fire, who made a winning reappearance in the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan two weeks ago.
Nicky Henderson is keeping his options open by confirming Hargam, Sign Of A Victory and Top Notch. The latter ran for the first time since finishing second to stablemate Peace And Co in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham when giving Irving a good run for his money at Haydock on Saturday.
"Top Notch ran really well at Haydock at the weekend. We were very pleased with him," said the Seven Barrows trainer.
"I've left him in the Fighting Fifth as it if came up very soft, we would think about having a go.
"I've also got Hargam and Sign Of A Victory in there so anything could happen at this stage."
Paul Nicholls could run Irving for the third time this month as he also landed the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton. John Ferguson is doubly-represented with Commissioned and Purple Bay with Robert Stephens' Beltor and the Karl Burke-trained Intense Tango completing the list.