Sunday 24 March 2019

Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy set for Fairhouse after sidestepping Red Mills

Presenting Percy, with Davy Russell up clears the last on their way to winning The RSA Steeple Chase on Day Two of the Cheltenham Racing Festival last year
Presenting Percy, with Davy Russell up clears the last on their way to winning The RSA Steeple Chase on Day Two of the Cheltenham Racing Festival last year

Ashley Iveson

The Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse has emerged as a potential target for Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy after connections elected to sidestep Saturday's Red Mills at Gowran Park.

Having won his second Galmoy Hurdle at the County Kilkenny circuit last month, Pat Kelly's stable star was due to return to fences for a race in which he was narrowly denied by the ill-fated Our Duke 12 months ago.

The dual Cheltenham Festival winner was not among the declarations on Friday, but owner Philip Reynolds insists his pride and joy is in rude health.

Reynolds said: "All is good with Percy. He schooled this morning, and there no problems.

"Pat and myself had a good chat about it, and he is just happy with where he is and didn't feel we needed to run him this weekend.

"We're keeping the faith and staying positive."

Presenting Percy will be given the option of running in the Bobbyjo Chase on February 23.

However, Reynolds is not ruling out the possibility of heading straight to Cheltenham with his charge - in which case he will run in the Gold Cup having not jumped a fence in public since his impressive display in the RSA Chase at Prestbury Park last March.

He added: "We're going to give him an entry in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse.

"Pat is in no rush with him, and if we decide to go straight to Cheltenham then so be it."

Following his Galmoy Hurdle success, there were suggestions Presenting Percy could switch to a tilt at the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham - should he not run over fences in the meantime.

But when asked whether the Stayers' Hurdle could be a serious option, Reynolds said: "That is not the plan. The plan remains as it was, and that is to run at Cheltenham (in the Gold Cup) on March 15."

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