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Presenting Percy team eye Total Recall clash en route to festival

Presenting Percy: will run in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse or the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park before Cheltenham
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RSA Chase favourite Presenting Percy, winner of the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park last month, faces a potential clash against Ladbrokes Trophy winner Total Recall in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse this month.

Presenting Percy, trained by Pat Kelly and owned by businessman Philip Reynolds, won the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival to follow up the victory of Mall Dini for the same connections in the same race 12 months earlier.

Son of former Taoiseach Albert, Reynolds has horses with many of the top stables in Ireland but has enjoyed his greatest days with Kelly, a relatively small operator in County Galway.

Philip Reynolds and Davy Russell celebrate after another Presenting Percy win

Reynolds said: “We’re looking at running him in either the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse [February 24] or the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park on Saturday week [17] – it’s between those two races.

“The Bobbyjo would probably suit him a little better as it’s over further but the only problem is that it’s not run until the end of the month. I think that they’re the only two options for him now as we want to run him back over fences before Cheltenham.”

Asked whether stepping out of novice company again would pose any concerns, Reynolds added: “He’s already proved that he’s a quality animal and we don’t mind stepping out of novice company. I think if he’s going to be competitive in the RSA he’ll need to be competitive in a Bobbyjo or a Red Mills Chase.”

He added: “I thought Monalee was fantastic at Leopardstown over the weekend and he looks like he’s going to be serious opposition in the RSA. Al Boum Photo also ran a good race in second so it looks like it’s going to be a very hot race, which is why we want to give him another run.”

Along with Presenting Percy, Reynolds also hopes to be represented at Cheltenham by Mall Dini, who is on course to run in Sunday’s €100,000 Boylesports National Trial at Punchestown before a decision is made about a definite festival target.

Mall Dini: disappointing so far over fences

Reynolds said: “You’d have to admit that he’s been a bit disappointing so far over fences. He’s still a novice, which means he could run in the four-miler at Cheltenham or else run in the Kim Muir.

“The older he’s getting the more important the ground has become for him. We would have loved to run him in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park last month but the ground was just a little bit too heavy for him, which was disappointing.

“Like Presenting Percy, he needs to run somewhere before Cheltenham and our hand is somewhat forced this weekend. Hopefully the ground won’t get too testing.”

Reynolds’ runners are operating at the peak of their powers and in Kelly he knows he has every opportunity of making it to the big day with a major chance.

He added on his trainer: “Pat Kelly is quite simply a genius. He does things his own way and it seems to work. Some people asked Davy [Russell] was he surprised after that Pat decided to run Presenting Percy back over hurdles in the Galmoy but quite rightly, Davy said nothing ever surprises you with Pat.

“That was a fair comment as Pat thinks very much for himself and for a small operator to win the past two Pertemps Handicap Hurdle with two different horses is something else.”

It begs the question, what about a third? “It would be fantastic but we may be running out of time with Eagle Lion, a horse who won his maiden hurdle nicely at Punchestown last week.

“He's a horse we've always liked and we'll look at running him in a qualifier at Punchestown later this month and hopefully the clock isn't against us."

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Pat Kelly is quite simply a genius. He does things his own way and it seems to work
E.W. Terms