Presenting Percy is reported to be firmly on course for the Savills Chase after delighting connections on his reappearance at Punchestown.
The Pat Kelly-trained eight-year-old lined up for the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase with plenty to prove, having disappointed when favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March off the back of a solitary run over hurdles last season.
However, he showed his considerable talent remains very much intact with a fine effort to finish third behind last year’s winner Min – and owner Philip Reynolds is looking forward to seeing him return to the more suitable distance of three miles at Leopardstown on December 28.
He said: “I was delighted with the run and he’s come out of the race well, which I’m even more delighted with.
“I’ve watched it a good few times since and although he got in tight to one or two (fences), he was clever and jumped a lot more like I expect – he jumped more like the old Percy, which was great to see.
“I think it was the slowest John Durkan there’s been in at least 10 years, so that wouldn’t have suited him. He got caught for a bit of toe over two and a half (miles), but he finished really well and ran right to the line and through the line.
“I don’t think you could be anything but pleased, considering where he’s come from and the questions he had to answer.”
Reynolds was keen to give special mention to jockey JJ Slevin, who stepped in as a late replacement for Davy Russell after the three-times champion jockey fell ill earlier in the afternoon.
“I thought JJ gave him a great ride. Coming in as a late replacement like that, he was on a hiding to nothing, but I thought he was very good on him and was very kind to the horse,” Reynolds added.
“Percy is going to come on for the run. The plan beforehand was the Savills Chase and I see no reason to deviate from that.
“Hopefully we’ll have Davy back on board, so roll on Leopardstown.”
Presenting Percy is a best-priced 8-1 for the Savills Chase with Paddy Power. The same firm make last year’s winner Kemboy the 11-8 favourite, with 2017 victor Road To Respect – an impressive winner on his return to action at Down Royal – next best at 3-1.
Reynolds said: “It looks like it will be a very good race, but that’s what you expect – there’s no hiding place in these Grade Ones.”