Cheltenham off the agenda for Identity Thief following setback

Identity Thief is unlikely to appear at next month's Cheltenham Festival after missing the Flyingbolt Novice Chase at Navan.

Henry de Bromhead's Grade One-winning hurdler made a flying start to his career over fences with successive wins at Punchestown, but it has been far from plain sailing for seven-year-old since.

He was pulled up lame during a much anticipated clash with Min at Leopardstown over Christmas and then unseated David Mullins at the first fence in last month's Irish Arkle.

Connections had hoped to see Identity Thief get his season back on track in the Grade Three contest, but he was withdrawn after suffering another setback.

Michael O'Leary of owners Gigginstown House Stud told At The Races: "He pulled out lame this morning after pulling a shoe off himself in the box last night.

"The frustrating thing is that it probably rules out Cheltenham. We can't get a prep race in before Cheltenham and we can't go to the Arkle after pulling up and falling.

"We'll probably keep him at home and target the Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse at Easter.

"He's just been unfortunate."

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