Wednesday 16 August 2017

Percy makes light of handicap mark in Pertemps Final

Presenting Percy is in front at the last
Presenting Percy is in front at the last

Presenting Percy turned the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle into a procession as he gave trainer Pat Kelly and jockey Davy Russell back-to-back victories in the Cheltenham Festival contest.

Mall Dini had struck for the same team 12 months ago and Presenting Percy (11-1) followed up in devastating fashion.

Russell brought the six-year-old through the pack to lead before the final flight and storm up the hill to win from Barney Dawn, Jury Duty and The Tourard Man.

Russell said of the three-and-three-quarter-length winner: "To be honest the credit has to go to Pat Kelly, he's a master and he improved for the better ground and I'd like to apologise to Phil Smith (BHA handicapper), maybe he was right (to give him more weight that his official Irish rating).

"Probably 99 times out of 100 the handicapper does a good job, but I thought he'd been a bit harsh on him. Pat has obviously found improvement in him.

"I rode my luck a bit and jumped him off at the back, but he settled lovely and it all went well.

"I've been to a lot of sporting occasions, but this is the ultimate."

Owner Philip Reynolds said: "We were here this time last year and it was a dream come true, I can't believe we've done it again.

"Pat Kelly is unbelievable, he has a 100 per cent strike-rate here.

"I gave my wife a present of this horse this time last year, hoping she could have as much fun as me.

"Davy is unbelievable around here, a master.

"We were very disappointed when the handicapper here gave us an extra 6lb after his win at Fairyhouse, we had to run that day and win to make sure we got in. I wasn't sure we needed another six, but maybe Phil is right."

Kelly said: "Sure enough, he is a very good horse. He is a horse going places and I'm looking forward to going chasing next year.

"Davy Russell was brilliant, he was out the back with him and gave him a chance and he came through to finish well.

"I'm very lucky to have a nice horse and a good owner that gives me a free hold on what to do with him to help him improve. He will keep improving.

"He won't run again this season. We will mind him for next year."

Barney Dwan's trainer Fergal O'Brien said: "I thought we were going to win at the second-last, but then I spotted the winner going very well.

"I kind of knew our goose was cooked at that stage, but we have no regrets. I think you could have run the race 20 times and we'd never beat the winner.

"Paddy (Brennan) has given our horse a fantastic ride, both of them put their hearts and souls into it and left it all out on the track. We'll look at Aintree and Punchestown."

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