Owner Philip Reynolds has confirmed Presenting Percy is likely to miss the rest of the season after returning lame following the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The Pat Kelly-trained eight-year-old had an unorthodox preparation for the blue riband, having not run over fences since sealing his second Festival success with a dominant display in the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase last March.
Despite the doubts, the popular gelding was still sent off favourite for the Festival feature, but never threatened to land a telling blow and eventually finished a well-beaten eighth of nine finishers.
Speaking at Limerick on Sunday, Reynolds said: “It certainly wasn’t his day. I’m not making any excuses for him, but he was found to be lame afterwards.
“He got back home Friday night. The vets in Cheltenham did a great job and got a pain (relief) injection into him before he sailed.
“It’s a bit early, so we’ll have him assessed this week and see. Fingers crossed it’s not too bad.
“Where that happened and how it happened, I’m not sure, but certainly he wasn’t the Presenting Percy that I know.”
Presenting Percy had Gold Cup hero Al Boum Photo well beaten when the latter fell in the RSA 12 months ago, but Reynolds does not believe that means his charge would have come out on top again on Friday if he had been in top form.
He told Racing TV: “People are saying we should be happy that Al Boum Photo was the winner, but he may well have improved the 14lb or 16lb he needed to win and I don’t know whether we have or not.
“By the sounds of it we’re going to have to wait another season – and I hope that’s all we have to wait – to find out whether he has or he hasn’t improved.
“He’s eating up, so in that regard he seems fine, but he’s still lame. It looks like he might have skewed something and I hope it’s nothing more serious than just a muscle injury. If it is, we’ll give him the time he needs.
“Whether we’d have gone on past Cheltenham or not was a question anyway. It looks like that question has been answered for us now.
“I hope we have a horse at the end of it. A lot of people left Prestbury Park with their dreams in shreds and I hope ours aren’t.
“Hopefully time will be a great healer.”