Presenting Percy has proved his quality at Cheltenham Festival in the past, producing two wins at the week-long event, but now could be the time for the ultimate prize of the Gold Cup. Patrick Kelly’s charge has secured back-to-back wins at the Festival, claiming the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle and the Novices’ Chase crowns over the last two years. Next year could be the time for the bay gelding and his trainer to make a statement by taking on the elite of the field.
He will face the quality of reigning champion Native River, who will look to become the first horse since Best Mate in 2004 to win successive titles. Might Bite, Bristol De Mai and Road To Respect may also be in contention. As a result, it will take a special performance from the seven-year-old to take the crown, but he has proven that he has the appetite for the big occasion, making him a sound bet at 9/2 in the Cheltenham betting odds.
Presenting Percy began his success at Cheltenham in 2017 in the Final Handicap Hurdle. He was an outsider for the event, but proved his talent with a fine ride. With Davy Russell in the saddle, Kelly’s charge was steady for the majority of the race, gradually moving forward with two fences remaining. He upped the ante with 150 yards left and surged away from his nearest rival to claim the victory and his first win at the Festival by three-and-three-quarter lengths.
The bay gelding did end the 2016/17 season with a disappointing outing at Punchestown in the Novice Hurdle, although he was back to his best for the new campaign with a composed outing at Galway to triumph in the Irish EBF Beginners Chase.
Presenting Percy made a statement at the Porterstown Handicap Chase, blowing away the rest of the competition at the race in Fairyhouse. No one could made his pace as he secured an 11-length victory. He sustained his momentum with his second triumph on the bounce in a Grade Two outing at John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle, although the bay gelding was the overwhelming favourite for the event.
His preparations for Cheltenham were knocked off course with an underwhelming display a month before the Novices’ Chase at Gowran Park in the Red Mills Chase. Our Duke had the pace to outduel Kelly’s charge down the stretch, inflicting the surprise defeat on the bay gelding. It didn’t affect his value in the minds of the bookies for Cheltenham for the three-mile race.
Presenting Percy was considered the favourite for the race and with Russell in the saddle, the horse matched expectations with a comfortable win. Russell made the move to the front of the field three fences from the end of the race and then upped the ante to stretch into the lead.
Presenting Percy displayed his speed and stamina to close out a dominant win by seven lengths. He has not raced this term, but if he can maintain that level of form, the bay gelding is more than capable of securing the Gold Cup.