Sport Horse Racing

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Presenting Percy tops 19 contenders for the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown this weekend

Davy Russell looks to the heavens after victory on Presenting Percy at Cheltenham. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Davy Russell looks to the heavens after victory on Presenting Percy at Cheltenham. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Presenting Percy is set to make his seasonal reappearance in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown on Sunday.

The Pat Kelly-trained seven-year-old has not been seen in competitive action since claiming his second Cheltenham Festival success with a hugely impressive display in the RSA Insurance Novices' Chase in March.

He is a best priced 5-1 favourite to complete a Festival hat-trick and claim Cheltenham Gold Cup glory this season and owner Philip Reynolds is looking forward to getting his campaign under way.

He said: "All being well with Presenting Percy this week, the John Durkan at Punchestown on Sunday is where he is heading.

"He has been really, really well and I think Pat (Kelly) would have had plans to start him before now, but the dry ground scuppered any other plans that he had.

"The John Durkan is a nice starting point for him and if it did rain this week, two and a half miles around Punchestown can be like the best part of three miles on a flatter track."

Presenting Percy is one of 19 entries for what is the 20th running of this Grade One contest.

Willie Mullins has won three of the last five renewals and his seven-strong team is headed by Punchestown Gold Cup hero Bellshill, Clonmel Oil Chase winner Kemboy and nine-times Grade One winner Un De Sceaux. Al Boum Photo, Black Hercules, Invitation Only and Min are his other contenders.

Gordon Elliott also has seven entries, with Cheltenham Festival heroine Shattered Love seemingly a likely runner.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned mare won the JLT Novices' Chase at Prestbury Park and made a pleasing reappearance when second behind Snow Falcon in a Grade Two event at Down Royal.

Elliott said: "She might run in the John Durkan. She's a good mare and I was happy with her first run back in Down Royal. She would have come on a lot for the run.

"Her next run will tell us what road we go. I think she is a mare that could run well in a Gold Cup."

A Toi Phil, Alpha Des Obeaux, Doctor Phoenix, Don Poli, Outlander and The Storyteller complete Elliott's squad.

Tony Martin's Cheltenham Gold Cup third Anibale Fly, Henry de Bromhead's Ryanair Chase victor Balko Des Flos, the Joseph O'Brien-trained Irish Gold Cup winner Edwulf and Disko from Noel Meade's yard complete the stellar list.

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