'Thief' bids to get season back on rails ahead of possible Festival tilt
Identity Thief could yet run in Tuesday week's Racing Post Arkle - if he can get his season back on track at Leopardstown tomorrow.
Gigginstown's Fighting Fifth winner of last season won his first two chase starts and failed to complete his last two. However, he returns to action under the guidance of Bryan Cooper.
This is far from a formality, even if he jumps efficiently. Great Field has an ability to cruise and jump that sets him apart - but also enhances the prospect of something going wrong. Jody McGarvey rides again, with Mark Walsh on Grade One-winning hurdler Don't Touch It.
Gigginstown is not ruling out Identity Thief taking Altior on in the Arkle; tomorrow will be key to where Henry de Bromhead wants to aim him next.
Willie Mullins - represented in only three races this weekend - runs three horses in the opening Foxrock Cup Hurdle, which Great Field won last year. The Mullins trio have been off the track for an average of 898 days.
Ruby Walsh is aboard Bonbon Au Miel but Tycoon Prince is preferred. It is surprising that this strapping beast is not chasing this season but he is more than capable of winning this for Gordon Elliott and Cooper. Enda Bolger goes to the Festival with two major fancies for JP McManus. They combine here with the consistent Youcannotbeserious in the maiden hurdle over two and a half miles.
The Coral.ie Handicap Hurdle is not an alluring medium for a bet, Eight Till Late a hopeful pick, while Damut drops down in class in the €50,000 TRI Equestrian Handicap Steeplechase and should be thereabouts. This is a pretty ordinary race for the purse, with Net D'Ecosse a potential threat.
The conditionals' handicap chase can go to Boss Croaker, Mouse Morris' horses back in form. Paper Lantern remains dangerous off a rating of 102.
Joseph O'Brien is triple-handed in the closing bumper, the Stowaway-bred Us And Them a token pick under Patrick Mullins.
At Navan today Patrick's father, Willie, looks good for a winner in the shape of Bargy Lady in the Meridian Security Mares Maiden Hurdle. She is quite experienced and this lacks depth.
The first handicap chase has the credentials to be a lively betting heat, though the on-course layers today will not be over-stretched. I Knew Well is narrowly preferred to All The Chimneys, which has Jack Kennedy's assistance.
A sporting nap, Monastic, can take the Meath Hospice Homecare Handicap Hurdle. Few make any appeal and Elliott's five-year-old is unexposed.
The four-year-old maiden hurdle is a nice opportunity for the same connections' Icario, which can provide Soldier Of Fortune with another jumps winner. It is a moderate event.
Elliott can also take the maiden chase with Kings Bandit, this race bizarrely weak given the status of the track.
Nothing is convincing in the veterans' chase but Kilford likes the venue and may make all under Luke Dempsey. Balkalin is a hopeful choice in the bumper.