Philip Reynolds, owner of 2018 RSA Chase hero Presenting Percy, who is a 7-2 chance with Paddy Power for Sunday’s Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown after today’s forfeits stage, is expecting a much better performance from his charge than his fifth last time in the Savills Chase at the same venue just after Christmas.
Reynolds and trainer Co Galway-based Pat Kelly could have gone for a hat-trick bid in last Thursday’s Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park, but instead decided to aim the stable star at the feature race of this weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival.
Reynolds explained: “It’s pretty straightforward really – I’d have loved to have had a crack at the hat-trick, but I’m not sure we’d have been successful as the mare Benie Des Dieux was very impressive.
“Presenting Percy is hopefully heading to the Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 13 and there’s no point jumping the small ones when you’re going to be jumping the big ones.
“Also once Leopardstown decided to turn the taps on, there was no reason not to and we’ll be eyeing up the same horses in a few weeks’ time so we might as well have a crack at them now.”
‘Percy’ was only four lengths adrift of winner Delta Work in the Savills Chase at the Dublin venue over Christmas, but Reynolds was downbeat afterwards.
He continued: “The truth is I came away disappointed – I know he was only beaten four lengths but it was more the manner of the defeat than the distance.
“I expected him to show up better and again that’s another reason why we’re going back as I think he’s better than that, we might ride him slightly differently and I genuinely expect him to be more competitive than in the Savills.”
Last season Percy was sent off the 100-30 favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup despite not having jumped a fence in anger earlier in the campaign, but could only muster eighth although he was subsequently found to be lame.
“I’ve watched that race every Friday night for the last 12 months and that’s after the pub as I couldn’t face it before! It was a nothing race, for us at least, and again my immediate reaction was huge disappointment,” lamented Reynolds.
“I’ve never seen him jump as badly and I didn’t understand and couldn’t figure it out. The only thing was he hadn’t had a run over fences before that and everyone was right and I was wrong. I wish we’d run in a chase earlier when the ground was right for him.
“He never jumped a fence but initially in a way it was good that they discovered something else, although I couldn’t tell you where he got the knock and whether it was at the start or half way.
“It’s one of those things and I suppose Paddy Power would be 250-1 for the Gold Cup rather than 10-1 as he did come home with that knock.
“He ran very well in the John Durkan and I thought he jumped and travelled well in the Savills, but I’d like to have seen him see it out better. I’m not giving up on him though and all the more reason to go back.”
Having listened to a racing podcast the night before on which one guest thought Kemboy would win the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup, Reynolds thinks that individual is wrong.
“Of course we can win – I thought fence for fence in the Savills our jumping was better than Kemboy’s. Saying that, Kemboy is a course specialist and the dead three miles is probably the minimum Percy needs.
“He was beaten four lengths and finished a close fifth. I expect him to be more competitive this time.
Whatever beats him is going to win on Sunday.