Presenting Percy is the latest big name to be added to a high-class Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown a week on Sunday after connections revealed he will not run at Gowran Park on Thursday, writes Brian Sheerin.
He is set to take on Delta Work and Kemboy on February 2 after a rethink by connections, who had been aiming him at Thursday’s Galmoy Hurdle.
According to owner Philip Reynolds, the Presenting Percy camp have been encouraged by the news that Leopardstown would begin selective watering for the eagerly anticipated two-day bonanza.
The prospect of going toe-to-toe with some potential Cheltenham Gold Cup rivals on soft ground at Leopardstown was too enticing for trainer Pat Kelly, who has ditched plans to bid to complete a Galmoy Hurdle hat-trick with the 2018 RSA Chase winner.
Reynolds said: "We've decided to skip the Galmoy with Presenting Percy. After reading reports that Leopardstown are to start watering this week, we think it's only right that for him to eye up his potential Gold Cup opposition one more time before they hopefully line up at Cheltenham in March.
"I have great sympathy for Leopardstown watering in January – it just doesn't sound right. However, the Dublin Racing Festival is a hugely important new initiative in Irish racing which would be at grave risk if there was a repeat of what happened last year, so although they're between a rock and a hard place, better to be there than between a rock and hard ground!
"Their action deserves support so we will take our chance in what should be a fantastic renewal – four of the first five from the Savills Chase, last year's winner, a Gold Cup winner and a runaway Troytown scorer. It promises to be a race fitting of the prize-money."
Bypassing the Thyestes Chase meeting was not an easy decision to make for Reynolds, who would love to have been running at Gowran Park.
"Our hearts will be in Gowran Park on Thursday, where it would have been brilliant to aim for a third Galmoy Hurdle in a row," he said.
"But this is a game where you need to use your head so it's off to Leopardstown for us instead."