OVER 150 horses were in action at the two-day Galway October Bank Holiday meeting, but fittingly the one to leave the biggest impression on Ballybrit punters was the locally-trained Presenting Percy.
A smooth winner of the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham National Hunt festival last March, the Pat Kelly trained six-year-old made a sensational debut over the larger obstacles in the WB Gavin Beginners Chase on Monday.
The depth of the line-up would have done justice to a novice chase at either of the Leopardstown or Punchestown festivals later in the season, but it made no difference to Presenting Percy which produced an exhibition round of jumping in putting his seven rivals to the sword.
Nowhere was the potential of Presenting Percy more underlined than his spring-heeled leaps at the final two fences in the dip on sticky ground, together with the manner Davy Russell’s mount quickened up the hill.
Gordon Elliott’s high class staying hurdler, De Plotting Shed, was still on the premises, however, and briefly it looked as though a titanic battle was about to unfold before Presenting Percy gradually pulled clear for an impressive three-length victory.
Craughwell-based Kelly had set punters something of a puzzle in also saddling his other winner of the Pertemps in Mall Dini and though the seven-year-old, which also runs in the colours of Philip Reynolds, ran an encouraging race in finishing fifth, all the post-race focus was naturally on a potential rising star of the chasing game.
Kelly, not a man to get carried away, didn’t quite join the chorus of eulogies being heaped on Presenting Percy afterwards, but you could tell he was pleased with what he had seen. “It was a good race and he jumped well. Davy was happy and so am I. It’s about giving him enough experience and he’s an exciting horse. There’s plenty to look forward to,” he said.
The feature event on the second day of the Galway meeting saw Ruby Walsh produce another superbly-judged front-running ride on Call It Magic in the Kone Handicap Chase. Trained by his brother-in-law, Ross O’Sullivan, the champion jockey never saw another rival and toughed it out to fend off the flattering challenge of The Wrinkler.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.