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Bryan Cooper: “Identity Thief in great form ahead of his big test.”


Bryan Cooper: “Identity Thief in great form ahead of his big test.”

Bryan Cooper: “Identity Thief in great form ahead of his big test.”

I would love to have a go on Thistlecrack if I could ride one horse in the 32Red King George.

Obviously, a lot of people are saying that it will be very hard for him to win the race as a novice but he has everything, an awful lot of class, and the way he attacks his fences I think he will enjoy the stiff test of jumping that Kempton poses.

Of course, you have to respect last year’s winner Cue Card. But I think the Haydock race may have fallen apart up the straight last time, and I would side with the potential of Thistlecrack.

12.15pm Leopardstown

Imperial Way

There are clearly a lot of unknowns in here but what we are sure of is that Outspoken, a good stayer on the Flat for Aidan, sets the form standard on his second to a very smart horse of Willie’s at Fairyhouse last season. We haven’t seen him for over a year but he is definitely the one to beat if he runs up to that level here. I am on his stablemate Imperial Way, who makes his hurdling debut having shown plenty of promise in his two bumper starts, including when second to a smart prospect in Getabird at Fairyhouse earlier in the month. This could be a hot maiden but if he takes to hurdling then hopefully my horse has a good each-way chance.

12.45pm Leopardstown


She won four times in bumpers in France and shaped very promisingly on her hurdling debut behind Invitation Only at Gowran last month. The winner wasn’t disgraced behind Death Duty in a Grade 2 at Navan next time, and they pulled well clear of the third, so hopefully she can go one better here. But, again, this does look a very hot maiden. There are a couple of others with good hurdling form and Joseph runs Felix Mendelssohn, who was a smart middle-distance horse on the Flat. This could take a lot of winning, but I sat on Barra earlier in the week and she seems to have come on from Gowran.

1.15pm Leopardstown

Do No Complain

The Fairyhouse race that saw Landofhopeandglory beat Bapaume and Mega Fortune is probably the key to this race but I am not totally without a chance on my father’s horse. Do No Complain looks to have shown a decent level of form over hurdles and fences in France – 3yos jumping a fence in public so early can stand them in very good stead – and he is also tried in first-time cheek pieces. Like I said, the winner looks likely to come from the Fairyhouse race – I think Mega Fortune could come out best in a more strongly-run race, as I don’t think he was suited by the early crawl last time – but then again Prospectus looked very good when beating me easily at the same track last week and Lord Justice ran well behind a good horse of Paul Nicholls at Doncaster.

1.50pm Leopardstown


I won on him three times last year but he looks to have gone the wrong way since and he has been pulled up on his last two starts. But he returns to hurdles on a very lowly mark – he is rated 113 over hurdles, and 129 over fences – so if he gets back to his best then he has a chance. And he now wears the cheek pieces that he wore when winning twice for me over fences last summer, instead of blinkers. Perhaps they will help, but they will need to.

2.20pm Leopardstown

Identity Thief

This promises to be some race but when you have a talent like Identity Thief you shouldn’t be scared of the opposition. He was a very smart hurdler on his day last season, winning the Fighting Fifth and then finishing second in a couple more Grade 1s, and we have been very happy with his two chase wins so far. I sat on him over fences for the first time at Punchestown last time, and I was impressed with him in beating Ordinary World, who re-opposes today, by a length. The form of the race is working out very well, too. He has delighted us at home since, Henry is very happy with him, and I think we will give Min a race, alright. But this is no two-horse race with the likes of Road To Respect, Three Stars and Tully East in here as well. I wouldn’t swap mine for anything else, though. I sat on him on Thursday morning, and he felt great.

2.55pm Leopardstown

Ball D’Arc

He went up 3lb for his second to Oscar Knight in the Foxrock over 2m4f last time, which is probably fair enough. He may have been beaten easily by the winner but we were clear of the third. He has form over shorter, so the step down to 2m1f here shouldn’t be a problem – in fact, he didn’t really see it out over 2m4f last time – and I can see him going well.

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