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Tuesday 12 March 2019

Cheltenham Festival: Presenting Percy Primed for Gold Cup Triumph

With the likes of Might Bite and Native River struggling for form, punters may turn to one of the new kids on the block ahead of the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Presenting Percy - who has been the ante-post favourite with most high street bookmakers for months - cemented his status as a live contender with an encouraging win on his seasonal reappearance at Gowran Park on January 24th. 

Trained by Pat Kelly, Presenting Percy has all the attributes needed to be able to emerge victorious in the Festival’s showpiece race. The 8-year-old stays all day long and his jumping is up there with the best National Hunt racehorses around. Punters moved quickly to back Presenting Percy after his dominant effort at Gowran Park which, although over hurdles, still bodes well for another successful campaign.
The 2018 RSA Chase winner produced one of the performances of last year’s Festival and he will take some stopping should he go for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Connections have stated that the Stayers' Hurdle remains a possibility if his preparations are affected, but most in the industry are expecting Presenting Percy to line up at Prestbury Park on March 15th. 

At the time of writing, Cheltenham Festival 2019 odds have Presenting Percy at 3/1 to win the Gold Cup. There are major doubts over Might Bite’s engine, Thistlecrack’s jumping leaves a lot to be desired and Native River isn’t getting any younger. King George VI Chase winner Clan Des Obeaux and the Willie Mullins-trained Kemboy could be Presenting Percy’s main rivals come Gold Cup day.

Clan Des Obeaux remains relatively unexposed at the highest level and his improvement over the last year or so may convince punters to side with him. He produced a career-best performance at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, but some doubt whether he will last up the Cheltenham hill. Meanwhile, Mullins' dreadful Gold Cup record alone may stop punters from backing Kemboy. 

Presenting Percy will almost certainly head the Gold Cup betting odds ahead of the Festival and punters will be keeping a close eye on his progress. That win at Gowran Park couldn’t have gone much better but connections won’t want him to peak just yet. If Kelly gets Presenting Percy in tip-top condition for March, his rivals had better watch out – another Cheltenham Festival demolition job awaits.