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Dublin: 7 °C Monday 18 February, 2019
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'It is chucking it down': Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite finally gets weather for first run of the season

Presenting Percy is expected to run in the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park on Thursday.

Davy Russell and Presenting Percy: expecting rain.
Davy Russell and Presenting Percy: expecting rain.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

GROUNDS FOR OPTIMISM at last.

Pat Kelly has been patiently waiting for soft ground to unleash his Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy and the team at Gowran Park expect his wish to be granted in Thursday’s John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle.

The ground was described as yielding, yielding to soft in places on Monday morning and, with at least 8mm of rain set to hit the track by Monday night, Scally says the ground could be soft by Thursday – news which is sure to be music to the ears of Presenting Percy fans.

Gowran Park manager Eddie Scally said: “It is chucking it down here at the moment and we’re due another 8mm by tonight. There’s no drying out either so I would say the ground will be almost soft by Thursday. It’ll be certainly more soft than yielding on the day.”

The Goffs Thyestes Chase may be the biggest race of the year at Gowran Park but Presenting Percy’s participation on the supporting card would be a big boost to attendance figures according to Scally, who thinks the track could be in for a double helping of the Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite.

Scally said: “It means everything to us that Presenting Percy runs. He’s probably the most popular horse in Ireland right now, or certainly one of them. When he ran against Our Duke in the Red Mills Chase last year we had our biggest attendance on that day since the days of Danoli. That’s how big he is.”

Rachael Blackmore says she will be on duty for the Thyestes Chase despite two falls within 35 minutes at Thurles on Sunday which prevented her from taking the mount on runner-up Sub Lieutenant in the feature Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase.

The 29-year-old, who trails leader Paul Townend by seven winners in the Irish jockeys’ championship standings, took a crashing fall from Cool Saint at the final flight in the 2m6½f novice hurdle when upsides winner First Approach, while she only got to the third flight on Like An Open Book in the following 2m handicap hurdle.

Blackmore was stood down for the rest of the Thurles card but stiffness was her only complaint on Monday morning.

Blackmore said: “I’m a bit stiff, but that’s all. There’s nothing broken and no lasting damage so I’ll be grand. I’ll definitely be riding at Gowran on Thursday.”

Gigginstown House Stud, for whom the jockey frequently rides, have eight entries in the Thyestes Chase but Blackmore could potentially be called up for ante-post favourite Solomn Grundy instead.

He is trained by Henry de Bromhead, who has provided more than half of Blackmore’s winners this season and more than a third of her rides.

– David Jennings

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