Presenting Percy cruises to RSA glory
Last Updated: 14/03/18 6:31pm
Presenting Percy might not have taken the traditional route to the RSA Insurance Novices' Chase but it made no difference as he bolted up at Cheltenham.
Having won the Pertemps Final 12 months ago, he has gone on to prove himself much better than a handicapper.
Trainer Pat Kelly is never one to shout from the rooftops and he has charted an unconventional path to Cheltenham this year, including a win back over hurdles, but he obviously knew what he had on his hands.
Davy Russell, extending his incredible record at the meeting, switched his mount off at the rear of the field and when he decided to join in towards the end of the back straight, he was absolutely cruising.
Monalee had taken up the running going well, but had no answer as Presenting Percy (5-2 favourite) scooted clear to beat Monalee by seven lengths. Al Boum Photo was booked for third when falling at the second-last, allowing Elegant Escape to snatch a place.
Winning jockey Russell said: "I've underestimated this horse all along.
"People have really latched on to him. He's unimpressive to me, but, by God, he's some horse.
"Sometimes you're a fool and sometimes you're a hero, but it all worked out today.
"I've nothing but praise for the man (Kelly), he's a genius. We'll enjoy today."
Similar thoughts were echoed by delighted owner Philip Reynolds, who said: "The man (Kelly) is an absolute genius the way he trains horses.
"I can't believe it myself. It was so stressful watching it. It's more relief than anything else.
"I love this horse."
Reynolds went on: "I'm speechless. I'm just delighted he's shown what he can do - I knew he was a Graded horse.
"It was the hardest four or five minutes I've ever put in. It's been incredible.
"I think Pat deserves all the credit for the route he has taken with the horse. He got a bit of a slagging about the route he had taken, but he's taken him out of novice company twice and I think it's toughened him up.
"The man is an absolute genius. How he hasn't got a yard full of horses is beyond me.
"To have a horse good enough to come to Cheltenham is incredible, but to have a horse to run the way he's done is unbelievable."
Asked whether he felt Presenting Percy could develop into a Gold Cup contender, he said: "I'm just delighted to win the RSA. Today is just amazing."
Henry de Bromhead said of Monalee: "He ran a blinder and I'm delighted with the run but I am disappointed not to win but such is life. He is galloping all the way to the line he is definetly a three mile horse. They are two very good novices and he was just beaten by a better one on the day.
"I hope so in time that he could be a Gold Cup horse but that is a long way away but it is the kind of direction we would be hoping to go. He handles most ground but possibly better ground might suit. Hopefully we will see him at Punchestown."
Colin Tizzard said of Elegant Escape: "He is a good strong stayer. Just when they crowded round him a bit they had a bit too much pace for him. He was staying on strong from the last and he will make a lovely Ladbrokes Trophy and Welsh National horse."