Cheltenham ‘still looks unlikely’ for Identity Thief
Identity Thief (right) could still make Cheltenham, but is up against it
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos) Cheltenham 'unlikely' for Arkle hope Identity Thief By Richard Birch 7:24AM 23 FEB 2017
IDENTITY THIEF remains an unlikely participant at the Cheltenham Festival following a setback last weekend, but the seven-year-old was left in the Racing Post Arkle and JLT Novices’ Chase at Wednesday’s acceptance stage.
The Grade 1-winning hurdler, sixth in last year’s Champion Hurdle, pulled off a shoe in his box which prevented him from running at Navan on Sunday, when owner Michael O'Leary suggested the Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse could be his next target.
That could yet prove to be the case, but trainer Henry de Bromhead said: "Cheltenham still looks unlikely for Identity Thief but we’re keeping our options option by leaving him in those races. He’s much better now. We’ll just have to see."
Identity Thief is quoted at 12-1 for the Arkle and JLT by bet365. A few bookmakers took him out of their lists following his setback but some reinstated him on Wednesday.
After winning two novice chases at Punchestown earlier this season, Identity Thief has failed to complete the course on his last two runs in Grade 1 company at Leopardstown.
The Noel Meade-trained Disko was taken out of the National Hunt Chase but retains entries in the RSA Chase and JLT, while Willie Mullins removed Bacardys from the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, although he is still in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle and Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.