Cheltenham favourite Presenting Percy makes successful return at Gowran Park

Presenting Percy
Presenting Percy is favourite to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March

Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy made a successful return to action in Thursday's John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park.

The eight-year-old was the 9-4 favourite to claim the Grade Two prize for the second year in succession.

The horse travelled powerfully for much of the three-mile journey in the hands of Davy Russell and passed the post a length and a quarter to the good.

He had been off the track since winning the RSA Chase at Cheltenham in March.

That victory represented his second Cheltenham Festival triumph.

Presenting Percy heads the market for the blue riband at Prestbury Park in six weeks' time - and did nothing to dent his claims on his belated reappearance.

Pat Kelly's stable star was chased into the straight by the Willie Mullins-trained trio of Bapaume, Killultagh Vic and Limini, where Russell had to get to work.

However, Presenting Percy responded well to his rider's urgings, going to the last with his ears pricked and ultimately finishing well on top.

Bapaume beat stablemate Killultagh Vic to the runner-up spot by a head.

Analysis

BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

That was a return by Presenting Percy that was as fabulous as it was hotly anticipated, after as good as 10 months off the track - indeed since he made it two wins from two starts in Cheltenham Festival races when winning the 2018 RSA Chase.

He could not have done any more, moving well throughout and jumping the hurdles fast and accurately and when some quality opponents bore down on him late on - the time for lack of peak fitness to tell - he found deeper reserves.

As he's an even better chaser, what a lot there is to look forward to.

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