Things We Learned » Percy thrills the masses

Percy thrills the masses

There was some buzz around Presenting Percy at Gowran Park on Thursday.  There always is a buzz around this day, Goffs Thyestes Chase day is a special day at Gowran Park, but Presenting Percy provided an extra catalyst on Thursday.

Philip Reynolds’ horse had been there before.  It wasn’t the first time that he went to Gowran Park and won the John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle.  And he created a buzz last year too.  But this year was different.  He had three runs under his belt for the season before last year’s renewal.  This year, we hadn’t seen him race in 10 months.  The anticipation was palpable. 

And he wasn’t Gold Cup favourite last year.

This year’s renewal of the Galmoy Hurdle was a deeper renewal than last year’s, and his main rivals had a race-fitness edge over him, but it didn’t matter.  Pat Kelly had him primed and Davy Russell allowed him coast.  He only won by just over a length, but he pricked his ears on the run-in.  He probably had more in hand than the mere winning margin. 

Presenting Percy will probably improve for Thursday’s run, his seasonal debut, his first run since he won the RSA Chase at Cheltenham last March.  He is only eight and he has run in just five chases in his life.  He is probably still progressing as a staying chaser.

Bookmakers cut his odds from 4/1 to 3/1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.  What else could they have done?

Sky is the limit

There is no knowing how good Tout Est Permis could be.  Noel Meade’s horse put up a really good performance in winning the Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase at Thurles on Sunday, given that the ground was probably faster than ideal for him, and that the distance was almost certainly shorter than ideal.  And he made a bad mistake at the penultimate fence in the back straight, from which he and Sean Flanagan did well to recover.

The Gigginstown House horse only beat Sub Lieutenant by a short head in the end, but there is substance to the performance.  Sub Lieutenant is a high-class performer on his day, and he appears to be at his best at Thurles.  In three previous runs at the track, Henry de Bromhead’s horse had won a bumper, he had won the Grade 2 Michael Purcell Novice Hurdle, and he had run that year’s Gold Cup winner Sizing John to two and a half lengths in the 2017 renewal of Sunday’s race.  The pair of them finished clear of Total Recall – who admittedly would have been closer had he not made a bad mistake at the last – and the winning time was good.

Tout Est Permis is only six.  He is now three for three for Noel Meade this season, and he should do even better when he gets a stiffer test than the test that he passed on Sunday.  There is no knowing how good he could be.

Gwencily may be under-rated

You can understand why Ucello Conti is high in the betting for the St James’s Place Foxhunter at Cheltenham.  Gordon Elliott’s horse is a high-class staying chaser, he has finished second in two Paddy Power Chases and a close-up fourth in a Becher Chase and he has finished placed in two Thyestes Chases.  He has now won his point-to-point, and he won a good hunters’ chase at Thurles on Sunday under Barry O’Neill, a race that has been won in the past by Foxrock and Gilgamboa and Prince De Beauchene.

However, it is not certain that he would have beaten Gwencily Berbas had that rival not unseated at the final fence. Barry Connell’s horse was unlucky to unseat too.  He just got in tight, landed steeply, and gravity won.  It was a real shame for his rider Aine O’Connor, because she had given him a fine ride, and it appeared as if she had retained something in reserve for the run-in.

It may be a bit of a rush now to get the Nickname gelding qualified for Cheltenham, but he will have a big chance if he does get qualified.  Alan Fleming’s horse is relatively lightly raced, he is only eight and he is a talented horse himself.  And even if he does not get qualified for Cheltenham, he will be of interest if he takes his chance in any of the good hunters’ chases at the other spring festivals.

Gone viral

You know that you have gone viral when your name is on top of the list when you type just ‘Mikey’ into the search bar.  In front of Mikey Graham and Mikey Garcia and Mikey Ryans and Mikey North.  (Well, none of them did a horseback somersault in a point-to-point at Boulta and still managed to get Ask Heather up to win.)

© The Irish Field, 26th January 2019