Presenting Percy will head straight to the Cheltenham Festival this season for the Cheltenham Gold Cup after connections opted not to declare their horse for the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse at the final stage for declarations.
The eight-year-old has only had the one outing this season and that came in the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park. Connections then planned for him to return to the Irish track just a few weeks later for the Red Mills Chase but he was not part of the final field for the contest he won in 2018.
If Presenting Percy is to win the Gold Cup this season, he will have to do what no horse since Easter Hero in 1929 has achieved and that is to win the three mile two furlong contest without having jumped a fence in the campaign leading up to the race.
The bookmakers still make him the 3/1 favourite in the Cheltenham horse racing betting for the Blue Riband event of the meeting. Many firms are offering non-runner no bet now so if for any reason Patrick Kelly’s runner does not line up, those who back him at this stage will get their stake back.
Last season Presenting Percy proved his class in the RSA Chase at the meeting where he was an emphatic winner of the three mile race by seven lengths.
The Irish horse had only run twice over fences in his novice campaign, however, he looked at home at Cheltenham on the chase course.
The last RSA Chase winner to score in the Gold Cup in the following season was Lord Windermere in 2014. He went off at 20/1 in the betting that year in a surprising result, given how disappointing he had been in the campaign leading up to that point.
Clan Des Obeaux’s Odds Tumble All the Time
After his success in the Grade 1King George VI Chase on Boxing Day at Kempton, Can Des Obeaux was rated as a 10/1 shot for the Gold Cup this season, however, his odds have continued to fall over the last few weeks and at 4/1 in the betting, he is now fighting for favouritism.
Former Champion Trainer Paul Nicholas has won the Gold Cup on four occasions and he will be confident his horse can give him his fifth success this year following the success of See More Business (1999), Kauto Star (2007, 2009) and Denman (2008).
Clan Des Obeaux started his season in the opening leg of the Chase Triple Crown at Haydock where he could only finish fourth of the five runners. He then went into a hot running of the King George, which included Might Bite, Waiting Patiently and Native River.
The seven-year-old proved too good for his rivals that day to suggest he is a serious Gold Cup contender.
Nicholls’s runner has his final preparation run for the Festival last weekend in the Denman Chase at Ascot. The British horse eased to victory with 11 lengths between him and the rest of the field at the finish line.
There are currently 36 horses still in the Gold Cup entries but that number is sure to be cut down considerably 48 hours prior to the race.