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Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Reynolds issues glowing report on festival heroes Mall Dini and Presenting Percy

Philip Reynolds and Davy Russell celebrate after the Grade 2 Galmoy Hurdle win with Presenting Percy at Gowran Park in January
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It has become familiar territory for Philip Reynolds to approach the Cheltenham Festival with strong claims of recording a winner and the successful owner has issued a glowing report on previous heroes Mall Dini and Presenting Percy, who are set to do battle in the Cotswolds once more.

Trained by Pat Kelly in County Galway, Mall Dini and Presenting Percy have carried Reynolds’ green and white silks to victory in the past two Pertemps Finals.

No ante-post favourite will have charted a more unusual path towards their Cheltenham destination than Presenting Percy has before the RSA Chase.

A winner of the €100,000 Porterstown Handicap Chase against his elders, just two starts after winning a beginners’ chase, Presenting Percy then notched his first Grade 2 success in the Galmoy Hurdle, before finishing second to Our Duke in the Red Mills Chase last month.

Some suggested those latest excursions could have taken their toll, but Reynolds is convinced that Presenting Percy is beginning to reach fever pitch under the guidance of Kelly.

He said: “I’ve read quite a bit where people have said Presenting Percy may have left his race behind him at Gowran, but to be fair to Davy [Russell], I don’t think he was especially hard on the horse once he knew he wasn’t going to get the better of Our Duke. It looked a very good performance to my eyes anyway.

“The horse has come out of the race very well and he’s been in brilliant form since. I spoke to Pat on Monday and he told me he did a piece of work at the beginning of the week and that he was delighted with him.

“People were questioning whether Pat should have run him in the novice chase at Navan the day after the Red Mills, but I think he learned more in defeat at Gowran than he would've for winning at Navan, and Pat thinks the same.”

Reynolds: "I think he learned more in defeat at Gowran than he would have for winning at Navan, and Pat thinks the same."

Presenting Percy has a definite preference for better ground but Reynolds holds no fears should the ground be on the soft side.

He said: “I’d love if it was better ground but I can’t say he doesn’t act on soft, because he’s been winning on heavy ground all year.

“Pat has always said he’d be better on nice ground and was proved right last year at Cheltenham. It would be a shame if it didn’t come up that bit better, for everyone.

"He’s in terrific form and, for one reason or another, seems to have caught the public’s imagination.”

While Reynolds wouldn’t change any aspect of how Presenting Percy has been campaigned this season, he admitted there’s one thing he does regret.

He explained: “The worst mistake I ever made was giving the horse as a present to my wife – I’ve been trying to renege on that deal ever since!"

Mall Dini to wear headgear

Mall Dini: won the Pertemps for Philip Reynolds and Pat Kelly in 2016

Reynolds also provided a positive bulletin on last year's Kim Muir fifth Mall Dini, who will be fitted with headgear for his second stab at the race.

He said: “He’s a two-year novice now and getting cuter with age – he seems to be saving a bit for himself these days.

“I think we’ll probably try him in headgear and there’s a strong chance he’ll wear blinkers on the day.”

Mall Dini is the general 6-1 second favourite for the Kim Muir behind Squouateur, who was also unsuccessful in last year's race.

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The worst mistake I ever made was giving the horse as a present to my wife - I’ve been trying to renege on that deal ever since!
E.W. Terms
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