Presenting Percy given go-ahead despite frustration over mark
While admitting to be "awfully disappointed" with the mark Presenting Percy has been given for the Pertemps Final, owner Philip Reynolds has confirmed his promising six-year-old will definitely run in the race.
Reynolds and Galway-based trainer Pat Kelly teamed up to win the same contest 12 months ago with Mall Dini and there are plenty who believe lightning will strike twice, with Presenting Percy vying for favouritism with Tobefair at around 6-1.
Kelly likened himself to a "raging bull" when learning last week the British handicapper had given Presenting Percy a mark of 146 – 6lb higher than in Ireland. The horse had run off 130 when winning last time at Fairyhouse.
"I was awfully disappointed with the mark he got," said Reynolds. "To get a hike of 16lb for his win at Fairyhouse is very severe, but we think he's a very nice horse and the plan is to run.
"It's not often you have a chance of winning a race at Cheltenham, so we have to take our chance. He'll have to try to win the race off a 7lb higher mark than Mall Dini did, and that is a tough ask."
A decision on whether Mall Dini bids to become a dual festival winner in the Kim Muir was due to be made on Friday night.
"Mall Dini was a bit sore after Gowran Park, where he clattered the second-last, so he missed a bit of work," said Reynolds.
"There's the Irish Grand National to think about but, to reiterate, having a fancied horse for a race at Cheltenham doesn't happen often, so hopefully he's able to run."
Reynolds could have a third runner at the festival in the shape of the Willie Mullins-trained Tin Soldier, who is unbeaten since being purchased from France and could go for the Martin Pipe on Friday.
The owner added: "Tin Soldier is a nice horse with a good attitude who stays well, so the Martin Pipe could really suit him as it's usually won by horse who comes from off the pace. They tend to go very quick and it suits stayers."
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