Presenting Percy will have his final start before leading the Irish challenge on next month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup in a high-class renewal of the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park on Saturday.
While it will be his first start over fences since his stunning success in the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase at last season’s Cheltenham Festival, Pat Kelly’s star did make a winning return to action with a smooth win in the Grade 2 John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park last month.
The race has attracted eight entries and the Henry de Bromhead-trained Monalee is set to renew rivalry with Presenting Percy, having finished eight lengths behind him when runner-up at Cheltenham last March. Monalee would be bidding for his first win of this season after taking third place at Down Royal in November and then finishing second to Kemboy in the Grade 1 Savills Chase at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival.
The Willie Mullins-trained Killultagh Vic is another on course for a rematch with Presenting Percy. He was only a length and half behind when third in the Galmoy Hurdle last month and could be joined in Saturday’s race by his stable companion Bachasson who scored on his only start this season when taking a conditions hurdle event at Punchestown in late December.
Joseph O’Brien’s Edwulf, a dramatic winner of the 2018 Irish Gold Cup, also figures among the entries while Gordon Elliott’s Alpha Des Obeaux, who ran an excellent race when finishing a gallant second to Invitation Only in last month’s Thyestes Chase, is another interesting contender. Tony Martin’s Anibale Fly, a fine third in last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup before finishing fourth in the Aintree Grand National the following month, is another high profile name in the feature race which should attract a large crowd to the County Kilkenny venue.
In other races, The Red Mills Trial Hurdle has attracted a select field of seven entries headed by last year’s winner, Forge Meadow, from the Jessica Harrington yard and she could be taken on by Farclas, winner of the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham last season for Gordon Elliott. Elliott has also entered the very promising four year old, Couer Sublime, who held every chance when falling at the last in a Grade 2 Hurdle at Leopardstown in late December.
Joe Connolly, CEO Connolly’s RED MILLS and Chairman of Gowran Park Racecourse, said: “Red Mills Day is always a wonderful occasion and we are thrilled with race entries. We’re looking forward to one of the biggest days of racing that Gowran has seen. Racegoers can look forward to witnessing some of the best horses in Ireland have their final run before heading to Cheltenham, it’s going to be very exciting and I am delighted for the team at Gowran Park.”