Fighting Fifth Hurdle
|Grade 1, Newcastle 14:05
2m 98y, Class 1
|Saturday 28th November 2015|
2 Top Notch 9/2
3 Wicklow Brave 2/1J
7 ran Distances: nk, 10l, 16l
TIME 3m 57.80s (slow by 16.80s)
Identity Thief snatches Fighting Fifth to enter Champion Hurdle picture
Supplemented into the race on Monday, Henry de Bromhead's five-year-old survived a bad blunder at the final flight to get the better of Nicky Henderson's Top Notch.
The pair set a strong gallop in the holding ground, with Ruby Walsh, visiting the track for the first time since 1997, content to sit behind on Wicklow Brave.
Daryl Jacob kicked Top Notch into a clear lead turning into the straight, with the two Irish raiders tracking him some three lengths adrift.
It was soon apparent Bryan Cooper was travelling better on Identity Thief than Walsh was, and he cruised into the lead approaching the last.
He met it all wrong, though, and Top Notch went two lengths clear again only for Identity Thief to battle back and win by a neck at 6-1.
"Bryan gave him a super ride," said De Bromhead.
"He wasn't in any rush going down the back and, bar the last flight, he was foot perfect.
"I thought he was beat but he's tough.
"That's a proper Champion Hurdle trial so we can dream about that in March but as for where he'll go before then I'd need to talk to Michael and Eddie O'Leary (owners).
"I think last year everything just happened too quickly which was why he tailed off.
"That was my first runner at Newcastle but I'll be back."
Walsh felt the tacky ground accounted for Wicklow Brave, while Nick Scholfield blamed scrappy jumping for Irving's poor display in his attempt to retain the title.
The winner was given quotes of around 20-1 for the big race in March.
Stanjames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle
£113,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 98y, Class 1
|Pos||D||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||Identity Thief (IRE) 6/1||B J Cooper
|H de Bromhead||5|
|2nd||nk||Top Notch (FR) 9/2||D A Jacob
|N J Henderson||4|
|3rd||10||Wicklow Brave 2/1j||R Walsh
|W P Mullins||6|
|4th||16||Purple Bay (IRE) 14/1||D Bass
|J P Ferguson||6|
|5th||6||Intense Tango 50/1||Henry Brooke
|K R Burke||4|
|6th||8||Irving 2/1j||Nick Scholfield
|P F Nicholls||7|
|7th||15||Beltor 22/1||T J O'Brien