David Mullins has Identity hopes
David Mullins feels Identity Thief is ready to bounce back to his best in the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown.
A Grade One-winning hurdler and placed at the highest level on multiple occasions, Henry de Bromhead's seven-year-old looked a formidable recruit to the chasing ranks after winning his first two starts over fences at Punchestown.
He engaged in what promised to be a thrilling tussle with Min in the Racing Post Novice Chase over this course and distance last month, but was pulled up lame after a couple of jumping errors.
A rematch looked to be on the cards this weekend, but an 11th-hour setback saw Min ruled out and Identity Thief is now a hot favourite to get back on the winning trail.
"I schooled him on Monday morning down in Henry's and he seems to be in good form," Mullins told At The Races.
"He's back to where he was when I rode him in Punchestown, so hopefully he's in top form again."
De Bromhead also saddles Some Plan, an impressive winner at Naas three weeks ago.
In Min's absence, Willie Mullins relies on Bleu Et Rouge and Royal Caviar.
With Barry Geraghty taking the ride on Bleu Et Rouge for his boss JP McManus, stable jockey Ruby Walsh partners Royal Caviar, who was a clear winner on his chasing debut at Thurles.
Walsh told the Irish Examiner: "It's Willie versus Henry de Bromhead in the Arkle.
"Royal Caviar absolutely bolted in on his chasing debut at Christmas time, and looks a good bit better over fences than he was over hurdles. That said, his last run over hurdles was very good.
"Bleu Et Rouge ran on very well to win at Leopardstown, while Some Plan was good at Naas, where he won the race American Tom fell in.
"Identity Thief is on a bit of a recovery mission, and so Bleu Et Rouge, who was a good novice hurdler, might prove hard to beat, as he has improved a good bit since his chasing debut."