Percy swerves John Durkan

Friday, Dec 7 2018

A field of five will go to post for Sunday’s John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase, with Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy a glaring omission.

His reticent trainer Pat Kelly had earmarked the Grade One as a starting point for the seven-year-old, who is now unlikely to be seen before Christmas.

Heading the field is Henry de Bromhead’s Balko Des Flos, a hugely impressive winner of the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham in March.

He reappeared in the Champion Chase at Down Royal but was a disappointing fourth behind Road To Respect.

Willie Mullins’ Min is making his first appearance of the season. Second to Altior in the Champion Chase and Politologue at Aintree, he has not been seen since finishing fourth to Un De Sceaux at Punchestown.

Gordon Elliott is double-handed with The Storyteller and classy mare Shattered Love, who was also successful at The Festival in March – winning the JLT Novices’ Chase.

She was also beaten on her return to action at Down Royal by Snow Falcon.

Completing the field is Joseph O’Brien’s Edwulf, a surprise winner of the Irish Gold Cup in February but well beaten at Cheltenham and Punchestown since.

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