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Royal Thief back in style from an enforced absence

Royal Thief hits the front at the lastRoyal Thief hits the front at the last
© Photo Healy Racing

Royal Thief (14/1) was another horse to deliver off a lengthy absence in Punchestown when taking the Total Event Rental (QR) Handicap Steeplechase.

Patrick Mullins was on board and the pair made eye-catching headway at the penultimate fence. Fakiera was boxing on at the front under the welter burden of 12st 5lb and hugged the far rail as he attempted to make the best way home.

Royal Thief was kept wide and was produced by Mullins to lead narrowly at the last from the brave Fakiera. The new leader stayed on strongly on the run-in as Fakiera (5/1) gave best and there was some 10 lengths between them at the winning post. Notice To Close was another four and a half lengths back in third at 5/1.

“I'm delighted with that. Patrick was brilliant on him,” said Henry de Bromhead.

“He said there was a fresh strip out at the wing and he went that way so fair play to him. It worked really well.

“He hadn't run for a long time so it's great and I'm delighted for Gigginstown.

“He ran well in the Pertemps a few years ago, then won his beginners chase and got hurt.

“We're in no panic with him now, we'll enjoy today and have no major plans.”

Royal Thief has been off track for more than two years.

Additional reporting by Gary Carson

About Michael Graham
Michael has worked in horse racing journalism for more than 15 years, having also written a weekly betting column on Gaelic football and hurling for a newspaper. He is involved in writing the My Racing Story features on this website. He spent a year in South Africa completing a Diploma in Business Administration and also studied Newspaper Journalism in Belfast. He enjoys playing 5-a-side football on a regular basis.