Monalee can book his Ryanair ticket while 'Couer' can be sublime
The racing world groaned yesterday when it was revealed that Presenting Percy would not take his place in today's Grade Two Red Mills Chase (2.30) at Gowran Park.
Trying to second guess Pat Kelly is a waste of time and in the words of wrestling commentator Jim 'JR' Ross: "We ain't on the same page, hell we ain't even reading the same book."
If 'Percy' can land the Gold Cup without jumping a fence in public in a year, it will be a remarkable feat but his absence from the Kilkenny track is like a kidney punch for racing folk.
That leaves four contesting the €60,000 prize and while not the same without the Gold Cup favourite, there is still plenty of intrigue among the quartet which is headed by Monalee.
Clues The Festival target for Henry de Bromhead's charge is either the Ryanair Chase or the Gold Cup but there should be plenty of clues available today and although second to Kemboy in the Savills Chase over three miles, signs suggest that he may be more effective over today's shorter trip.
Killultagh Vic was a close third in the Galmoy Hurdle behind Presenting Percy last month but Willie Mullins' charge has been frustrating to follow over fences.
Anibale Fly has the class to take this but Tony Martin's runner is gearing towards the blue riband and his best is unlikely to be seen until then as he looks to build on last year's third-place finish.
2018 Irish Gold Cup winner Edwulf completes the field for Joseph O'Brien but hasn't scaled that form this season and it's hard to get away from Monalee.
Rachael Blackmore's mount will excel stepping back to 2m4f and despite giving 7lbs to Killultagh Vic and Anibale Fly, he can book his Ryanair ticket in decent style.
The Grade Three Red Mills Hurdle (1.50) is a tricky affair but the exciting Coeur Sublime may have landed a Grade Two Hurdle over Christmas before a late fall.
Jack Kennedy takes advantages of all the weight allowances on the four-year-old and he can book his place to Cheltenham.
The fare at Navan tomorrow isn't to be sniffed but the Grade Two Ladbrokes Boyne Hurdle (2.20) looks a tough betting proposition with Charles Byrnes' Off You Go duelling with the Mullins pair of Coquin Mans and Bachasson.
Similarly, the Grade Two Ladbrokes Ten Up Novice Chase (3.25) is a puzzler but Gordon Elliott may supply the answer with Champagne Classic - just over a length behind the re-opposing Chris's Dream in Naas last month.
That effort came after nearly two years off with injury and if the bounce factor doesn't catch him, he can prevail, while the Meath trainer thinks a lot of Thatsy in the concluding bumper (5.0).
'Percy' set to head straight for 'Gold'
Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy (3/1) could head straight to Cheltenham without a run over fences this season after Pat Kelly's star was scratched from today's Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park.
Last year's RSA Chase winner will be entered in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse next Saturday but owner Philip Reynolds "wouldn't be surprised" if he goes to the Cotswolds with just a run over hurdles under his belt this season.
"All is good with Percy. He schooled this morning, and there's no problems. Pat and myself had a good chat and he is happy with where he is and didn't feel we needed to run him this weekend," Reynolds said.
"We're keeping the faith and staying positive. I understand the public have a fondness for him, and I want people to know we couldn't be happier with where he's at."