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Red Mills preview: Presenting Percy and Our Duke set for showdown

Fri 16 Feb 2018

Leading RSA Insurance Novices' Chase contender Presenting Percy clashes with Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Our Duke in what promises to be an informative renewal of the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park on Saturday.

Winner of the Pertemps Final at the Festival last March, Presenting Percy's first two races this season came in novice chases, before taking on seasoned handicappers over a marathon trip at Fairyhouse and last time out reverting to timber to win the Galmoy Hurdle in fine style.

The Pat Kelly-trained seven-year-old faces last year's Irish Grand National winner Our Duke over only two and a half miles - a trip that could feasibly be on the sharp side for both.

"He was good in the Galmoy, to be fair. He impressed me," said rider Davy Russell.

"He made the step up to graded company over hurdles well. He's back over fences on Saturday, so I'm looking forward to it.

"It's a step up against the big boys. Fingers crossed I get a nice round and a good run heading towards Cheltenham."

Presenting Percy is rated 9lb below Our Duke but is in receipt of 7lb from Jessica Harrington's charge, who turns out just a fortnight after finishing fourth in the Irish Gold Cup.

Jockey Robbie Power said: "I was very happy with the way he ran in Leopardstown, he travelled well for a long way but was just a little bit rusty with it effectively being his first run of the season.

"With the Gold Cup in mind, he needed another run to sharpen up if he's going to do himself justice in the Gold Cup.

Presenting Percy Galway The versatile Presenting Percy is back over fences on Saturday (PA)

"If he hadn't made that mistake at the second-last, he would definitely have been placed and what people forget because he's already won an Irish National is that was still only his sixth run over fences.

"Even after making that mistake, he stayed on really well from the back of the last and finished really strongly."

Willie Mullins decided against running the long-absent superstar Douvan, who is now set to head to straight the Cheltenham Festival.

In his absence, the champion trainer and owner Rich Ricci rely on last year's winner Ballycasey.

Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father, said: "Ballycasey won the race last year, but doesn't seem to be in the same sort of form this season.

"It looks a very competitive race and we're just hoping he can pick up some prize money."

Valseur Lido runs for Henry de Bromhead having finished one place behind Our Duke last time out, with Gordon Elliott represented by A Toi Phil.

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