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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 2 April, 2020

Back in action - Presenting Percy makes winning return for Davy Russell as hopes for Gold Cup grow

Pat Kelly’s charge was last seen in action in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham last March.

Davy Russell celebrates victory with Presenting Percy.
Davy Russell celebrates victory with Presenting Percy.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

FOR THE SECOND successive year Presenting Percy reigned supreme at Gowran Park but this afternoon’s success felt more significant in the John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle.

The favourite followed up last year’s success in this race with another triumph for trainer Pat Kelly and jockey Davy Russell.

But this was one to savour as it marked a victorious return after a long spell out of action since running at Cheltenham last March and in the process bolstered his claims to be favourite for the Gold Cup at this year’s festival.

The 9/4 favourite produced a superb showing against a quality field to win ahead of a pair of Willie Mullins-trained runners with Bapaume (11/2) in second and Killultagh Vic (10/1) back in third, both chasing the winner home.

Presenting Percy had been last seen when claiming glory in the RSA Chase last year before a 316 day break ensued, largely due to unsuitable ground conditions over the winter.

Davy Russell, who has been on board for each of Presenting Percy’s last ten starts, was delighted with the display of the gifted eight-year-old and said: “He’s a professional – he’s been around for a while now – and he’s trained by a very professional trainer in Pat Kelly.

“He gave me a good feel all the way through the race and we’re very happy with him.

“He got a round of applause coming back into the winner’s enclosure and he nearly got one on the way out to the track beforehand – that’s the beauty of jump racing.”

Davy Russell onboard Presenting Percy comes home to win Davy Russell on board Presenting Percy comes home to win. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Owner Philip Reynolds echoed Russell’s sentiments and remarked: “We’ve been patient with him and it’s come off. We would have looked fools if it hadn’t. People seem to love the horse and with it comes a responsibility.

“I think he was fantastic today. To have a horse like this is incredible. Pat Kelly has only one day in mind for him so there is bound to be some improvement there.”

An unorthodox road to Cheltenham proved no obstacle to success for Presenting Percy last season, and connections look set to chart a similar path this campaign, with the Red Mills Chase mooted as the next target.

Although the Gold Cup still remains the long-term aim, Reynolds also indicated that the Stayers’ Hurdle could be a possible fallback option at the festival, should plans not transpire at Gowran Park next month.

He added: “If he were to miss the Red Mills Chase for any reason or if things do not go to plan in that, then the Stayers’ Hurdle could come into the equation. However, the Gold Cup is plan A.”

Paddy Power are the firm seemingly most keen to dodge Presenting Percy for the Gold Cup, installing him as the 5-2 favourite.

- Additional reporting by The Racing Post

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