Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy is set to make his eagerly-awaited return to action in the John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park on Thursday.
Successful in the Grade Two contest last year but absent since winning the RSA Insurance Novices´ Chase at Cheltenham in March, with unsuitably quick ground having scuppered a number of comeback options, the Pat Kelly-trained eight-year-old heads an entry of 18.
Willie Mullins can boast seven contenders, including Bachasson and Limini.
Gordon Elliott’s squad also numbers seven and is headed by Diamond Cauchois, third in the race in 2018. Joseph O’Brien has the option of running both his promising French import Darasso and Early Doors.
Four entries for the Magners-sponsored Gold Cup are among a total of 36 horses that have stood their ground for the 100,000 euro Goffs Thyestes Chase on the same card. Mullins has 11 possibles, including Total Recall and Invitation Only.
Elliott has nine horses in the mix including last year’s hero Monbeg Notorious and the 2016 runner-up Mala Beach. Henry de Bromhead has three potential runners including Solomn Grundy and another leading ante-post fancy on course to run is the Paul Nolan-trained Fitzhenry.
A winner with My Murphy in 2016, Liam Burke could seek further success with Sumos Novios. Kelly could call on Mall Dini, while Philip Dempsey has Mr Diablo and Seamus Spillane has the option of running his course winner Goulane Chosen.
Gowran’s general manager Eddie Scally said: “Presenting Percy returning to the race he won in 2018 would obviously be a big attraction for the public as it will be our first opportunity to see the Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite this season.”
Looking ahead to possible ground conditions, Scally told RTE Sport: “Our ground is currently yielding, yielding to soft in places. We are expecting rain tomorrow (Friday) – we could get up to 13 millimetres – and after that the forecast is mixed with more rain likely.”