Cheltenham Festival 2016 news: Identity Thief and Mullins raiders latest
David Metcalf | January 26, 2016
Identity Thief heading straight to Champion Hurdle
Trainer Henry de Bromhead is pleased with his decision to sidestep Sunday’s Irish Champion Hurdle with Identity Thief, and is planning to send his rising star straight to the English equivalent at the Cheltenham Festival without another run.
After running out the game winner of of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, the six-year-old was last seen going down fighting to Nichols Canyon in the Grade 1 Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting.
Carrying the famous Gigginstown House Stud colours, Identity Thief is currently 12/1 with Coral for the feature 2m contest on the opening day of the Festival on Tuesday, March 15th.
“I’m very happy we missed the Irish Champion Hurdle. He’d had three runs already and had a pretty hard race the last day, so we backed off him and he seems in really good form,” de Bromhead told At The Races.
“We’re aiming straight to the Champion Hurdle. Probably his best form is on better ground and it was pretty testing in Leopardstown. He put up a good performance in the Fighting Fifth and he’s a horse that’s improving and very exciting.”
Mullins planning Doncaster raid
All conquering Irish trainer Willie Mullins is planning to send Morning Run to Doncaster for Saturday’s OLBG.com Mares’ Hurdle, but remains undecided on his other two possible contenders for the race.
The County Carlow handler also has Petite Parisienne, who was a Grade 1 winner seasom, and Whiteout entered but plans remain fluid for both.
However, Morning Run, who has been beaten just once in seven starts, is due to make the trip en route to a possible crack at the Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday, March 15th, for which she is currently a 16/1 chance with Coral.
Mullins also has a strong entry in another key Cheltenham Festival trial race on the card, the Lightning Novices’ Chase.
A total of 14 horses have been entered for the Grade 2 contest, and Mullins’ Shaneshill is a surprise one which has added some real potential spice to the race.
The gelding, who finished runner-up in last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and is unbeaten in two starts over fences, is currently 4/1 second favourite with Coral for the JLT Novices’ Chase on Thursday March 17th.
Mullins has also entered Avant Tout and Net D’Ecosse, whilst among the home team is Nicky Henderson’s classy Vaniteux, who pushed Ar Mad close at Kempton last time out and is 9/1 third favourite with Coral for the Arkle at the Festival on Tuesday, March 15th.
Shantou Village out to enhance Cheltenham credentials on Festival trials day
Shantou Village is set to put his Cheltenham Festival credentials on the line in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle on Festival Trials day at Prestbury Park on Saturday, January 30th.
The gelding won his sole start in an Irish point in impressive fashion and is unbeaten in three starts over hurdles since joining trainer Neil Mulholland.
The six-year-old was particularly impressive last time out when slamming Champers On Ice by 15 lengths in a Grade 2 contest at the track, and is currently 12/1 with Coral for the actual Neptune at the Festival on Wednesday, March 16th.
An 18-strong entry also includes Ben Pauling’s exciting and unbeaten Barters Hill (16/1 for the Neptune) and the Alan King trained Yanworth who is 8/1 third favourite for the Neptune with Coral.