Percy out to consolidate his position at head of RSA Chase market
Liam & Valerie Brennan Memorial Florida Pearl Novice Chase | 2m6f | Grade 2 | ATR
Presenting Percy was pretty good over hurdles, powering to victory in the Pertemps Final on the way to finishing the season with a mark of 156, but the early signs suggest he might be even better over fences and he is already ante-post favourite for the RSA Chase.
Those quotes, which range between 10-1 and 12-1, were arrived at after a flawless chasing debut at Galway last month when he destroyed De Plotting Shed and other promising rivals courtesy of a composed round of jumping.
Trainer Pat Kelly was understandably pleased, saying: "I would hope he can do at least as well over fences as he did over hurdles. There's plenty there to work with. He's an exciting horse for the future."
Victory today would certainly consolidate Presenting Percy's position in the RSA market as he faces some stiff competition, particularly from the Gordon Elliott stable.
Elliott has decided to pitch Shattered Love in against the boys, just as he did in the Neptune at Cheltenham, as she attempts to make it three from three over fences.
Elliott said: "It's obviously a very competitive race but Shattered Love is in good form and has done things nicely so far. This looks a nice opportunity for her to get some black type and I expect her to run well."
Jury Duty is Elliott's other representative but he needs to bounce back from a disappointing defeat at the hands of Bamako Moriviere at Cork.
"Jury Duty will come on for the experience at Cork and seems to be in good form so we're hoping he'll go well too."
Call The Taxie was not in the same league as his rivals over hurdles but has already proved himself to be a better chaser with a wide-margin win at Navan followed by a perfectly respectable effort behind the experienced Genie In Abottle at Galway.
"He jumps unbelievably well and stays all day long. He's taken really well to fences so far. I suppose something like the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham might be at the back of our minds as he stays so well but we will get this out of the way first and see how he gets on," said trainer Ellmarie Holden.
The five-runner line-up is completed by the 149-rated Arbre De Vie, who has the experience edge as this will be his 11th start over fences.
Elliott's trip concerns over Tombstone
Ryans Cleaning Craddockstown Novice Chase | 2m | Grade 2 | ATR
Gordon Elliott admits that dropping in trip is not exactly ideal for Tombstone, but hopes the extra emphasis on speed will not prevent him from registering a second success over fences.
Elliott said: "Tombstone is in good form, although coming back to 2m isn't ideal given how good he was at Down Royal. We need to split the horses up, though, so that is why we have decided to come here with him."
Elliott said of Brelade: "He just bumped into one at Navan [Footpad] and there was nothing we could do about that. He's a very good horse in his own right and is in great form at home."
Henry de Bromhead has won this race four times since 2009 and relies on Calino D'airy to continue his fine record.
"Calino D'airy has done really well since switching to fences. This is a big step up but we'll see where we stand with him. It's a race we have a good record in and we have plenty of fond memories," De Bromhead said.
Woodland Opera is a second-season novice whose finest hour arrived at Punchestown when taking the lucrative novice handicap chase at the festival in April, and Jessica Harrington is hopeful of a return to form over this shorter trip.
Harrington said: "We've always liked him and we think two miles on this sort of ground is far enough for him."
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