Racing Post Novice Chase tips: Identity Thief to steal the show at Leopardstown
David Metcalf | 26 December 2016
The Christmas Festival at Leopardstown begins on Boxing Day, so Coral experts give their Racing Post Novice Chase tips, with Identity Thiefs bets fancied ahead of Min odds for the opening day feature race.
Racing Post Novice Chase tips: Identity Thief bets can bag the swag
Identity Thief looks decent value to get the better of the highly-touted Min and land the Grade 1 Post Novice Chase over 2m 1f at Leopardstown on Boxing Day (14:20).
Trained by Henry De Bromhead, this gelding was a top-class hurdler who won last year’s Fighting Fifth at Newcastle before finishing a fine second in the Grade 1 Ryanair Hurdle at this meeting.
Identity Thief was then far from disgraced when sixth to Annie Power in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, before rounding off the campaign with a solid second to Vroum Vroum Mag in another Grade 1 at Punchestown.
The six-year-old always looked the type that would make up into just as good as chaser and he has made a seamless transition to the larger obstacles in winning both his starts this season.
Exciting recruit to chasing ranks
In the first of those, Identity Thief put in a superb round of jumping to cruise clear and score by 14 lengths at Punchestown.
He backed that up with a length success in a Grade 2 at the same venue when eased close home and value for more than the winning margin.
Judged on those displays, Identity Thief looks a very exciting recruit to the chasing ranks. His sound jumping can see him take this en route to a crack at the 2017 Arkle Challenge Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival, for which he is currently a 7/1 chance with Coral.
Min a mighty opponent
Min is bidding to give trainer Willie Mullins back-to-back winners of the race and has always been held in the highest regard.
After failing to cut any ice in two starts over hurdles in France, the five-year-old has won three of his four races since joing the County Carlow handler.
Min’s sole defeat came in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival where he finished a seven length runner-up to the mighty Altior.
Impressive on chase debut at Navan
That was a fine effort and the gelding could not have been more impressive when making a winning debut over fences in a 17-runner affair at Navan last month.
After being sent to the front from flagfall by jockey Ruby Walsh, Min jumped neatly and accurately before forging clear three from home to win easily by 10 lengths.
What he beat is questionably, but the manner in which the son of Walk In The Park got the job done could not be faulted.
However, Min’s wins have all been easy ones without being put under pressure and he could be vulnerable if it comes down to a battle with the more streetwise, experienced and ultra-tough Identity Thief, who was rated 5lb his superior over hurdles.
Coral’s top tip: Identity Thief has looked a natural in winning both his starts over fences, so looks worth a wager at the odds on offer to lower the colours on Min and land the hat-trick.