The last few months have been quite turbulent for the horse racing industry. Following a break of two and half months racing was allowed to restart albeit behind closed doors. So while there are no racegoers in attendance, racing can at least continue. With so many jobs dependent on the sport, it was a welcome relief to all involved.
However, the time also gave plenty of trainers and owners the opportunity to reassess their situations. One owner who has done just that is Philip Reynolds. He has decided to move his star chaser, Presenting Percy from Pat Kelly to trainer Gordon Elliott.
Now nine-years-old, the chaser has had some incredible highs throughout his career. From his 10 hurdle starts he won six of them. He went on to comprehensively win the RSA Chase at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival, just one year after bagging the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle.
He did start 2019 with a win at Gowran Park but since then it has been a bit downhill.
His attempt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2019 saw him a very long way off the mark. In fact, he was a full 33L behind the winner in that race and could only manage a disappointing eighth place.
With only four races since then, things have not improved. His best finish has been third place and his official rating has dropped a few points from 169 to 166. He also fell in the 2020 Gold Cup. While that in itself is not cause for major concern, owner Reynolds clearly believes that a change is called for.
Reasons For Moving Presenting Percy
Philip Reynolds, who has eight horses in training, said “It has been a very difficult decision but now is the right time for a change.
“Pat and I remain friends and I will be forever grateful to him.
“The horses will go to a few guys who already train for me, with Percy joining Gordon.”
Despite Gordon Elliott’s superior training record, it is a strange decision to make. Presenting Percy will no longer be the star at a small yard where he can a lot of attention. Instead, he joins a raft of stable stars who are all vying for attention.
That said, there is no doubting Elliott’s record and his success in Graded races so can he get one more out of Presenting Percy, or has his time passed?
Presenting Percy In The Betting
There’s nothing like a big change to shake things up. The move to Gordon Elliott’s yard has certainly done that. Tipped for a third run at the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2021, Presenting Percy’s odds have been slashed from 50/1 to as low as 25/1 with Paddy Power.
From his 8th place finish in 2019 and his fall in the race in 2020, those Gold Cup odds may seem a little optimistic so early into the season. However, Elliott has just over seven months to get Percy back to his winning ways so anything is possible.
Elliott’s record at the Cheltenham Festival is remarkable. He has trained 32 Cheltenham winners and he was the leading trainer at the Festival for the first time in 2017 with six winners. He was the leading trainer again in 2018 with a record-equalling (at the time) eight winners. He also saddled seven winners in 2020.
So are punters right to jump on the high ante-post odds for Presenting Percy? Only time will tell.