Bobbyjo Chase preview: Presenting Percy not certain for Fairyhouse featurePublished on: February 20, 2019Author: Jamie Clark
The big race over in Ireland this Saturday is the Grade 3 Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse (16:00). This 3m 1f test looks the last chance for Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy to get a run over fences before the Festival.
Pat Kelly;s stable star has swerved several intended targets this season, including the Savills Chase and Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.
It was particularly surprising that the eight-year-old missed Red Mills Trial day at Gowran Park last weekend, however, as the ground was the soft side of yielding.
Presenting Percy has avoided good going throughout the campaign and that is forecast here. Last season’s RSA Chase winner has had a spin over hurdles at Gowran this term, however, when successfully defending the Grade 2 Galmoy Hurdle.
With a sound surface likely, Presenting Percy isn’t certain to line-up again. This is reflected in Bobbyjo race sponsors BetVictor going 5/2 that he wins as, despite a 10lb penalty for previous Grade 1 success, he sets a clear standard among the 11 horses entered at the five-day stage.
Given he is not a guaranteed runner, Presenting Percy can’t really be recommended to punters. If he does take his chance, then he’s sure to go off shorter but backers have been stung connections taking him out on this ground throughout the season. He’s obviously respected, but betting value lies elsewhere.
Market favours Alpha Des Obeaux from Gigginstown five
Powerful owners Gigginstown House Stud have won the race twice before with Roi Du Mee, and had the second in each of the last couple of years.
Five horses sporting their maroon and white silks could go in this renewal, and the betting speaks for Alpha Des Obeaux.
He looks the clear pick of Gigginstown runners and of the quintet trained by Gordon Elliott. Alpha Des Obeaux goes under an 8lb penalty for landing the Grade 2 Clonmel Oil Chase last season – a race in which he was a gallant runner-up this term trying to give 6lb to Kemboy.
A three-length defeat to the subsequent Savills Chase winner was a fine effort. Alpha Des Obeaux then scored at Listed level when giving Valseur Lido, who could re-oppose here, 10lb.
He also chased home Invitation Only in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran and may have gone closer than a 1 1/4 lengths second if his jockey hadn’t dropped the whip.
Alpha Des Obeaux is a 5/2 chance with Paddy Power to resume winning ways in the Bobbyjo. Stable companion Outlander carries joint top-weight for his Down Royal Champion Chase success of 2017, but hasn’t got his head in front in 10 subsequent starts.
Like Henry De Bromhead trained runner Valseur Lido, their form simply isn’t being maintained. Don Poli has failed to complete on his two starts this season and it’s hard to see him figuring here as a result.
That leaves Monbeg Notorious, who was nowhere on his last two starts, as a younger horse with great scope for improvement.
He does need to deliver on that, however, as the eight-year-old is off level weights with Alpha Des Obeaux but rated 8lb inferior.
Mullins 4m hero Rathvinden could return
Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins has absolutely farmed the race with eight successes since 2005. He could have two in this year’s renewal of the Bobbyjo with 11-year-old pair Rathvinden and 2017 victor Pleasant Company holding entries.
The former proving his staying credentials with victory in the Grade 2 National Hunt Novices’ Chase over 4m at the Cheltenham Festival. Rathvinden had tons of experience over fences with 10 previous races going into that.
It was a long, hard season for him, however, and he hasn’t been seen since finishing fourth to The Storyteller at the Punchestown Festival.
Rathvinden, who holds a Grand National entry, will come on for this reappearance but is prominent in the betting at 3/1 with BetVictor and should be respected.
Pleasant Company went down in the big one at Aintree by a diminishing head as he almost overhauled Tiger Roll last April.
He’s another being trained with returning to a third crack at the Grand National in mind for owner Malcolm Denmark.
If Pleasant Company does race in the Bobbyjo, then it’s not his primary target and he’s finished down the field over both hurdles and fences this season.
Odds of 12/1 despite him being a course and distance winner, and older horses having a great record in the race, reflect skepticism from bookmakers.
Tiger Roll advertised the Grand National form nicely when capturing the Boyne Hurdle at Navan last weekend. You can say the same about horses in-behind Rathvinden from the National Hunt Chase though.
Sizing Tennessee, who was third, came out and landed the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury, while Impulsive Star back in fourth scored in another Grade 3 staying handicap around Warwick.
Magic Of Light has claims up in trip
Getting weight all-round is the Jessica Harrington trained mare Magic Of Light, who is attractive not going back up in distance.
The eight-year-old only has her sex allowance partially offset by a 3lb penalty, but is a Grade 2 hurdle winner and could now take on the geldings over fences.
Magic Of Light has run a string of very solid races over roughly 3m, including when third to Tout Est Permis in the Troytown Handicap four starts ago.
She has since given 4lb and a 14 lengths thrashing to Magic Of Light in a Listed mares’ chase at Newbury. When the daughter of Flemensfirth dropped back to 2m 4f at Huntingdon, she seemed to get tapped for toe when beaten a length by Happy Diva.
Magic Of Light was giving the winner 4lb, so again she was far from disgraced. em>At 7/2 with Betfair for this now reverting to a staying trip, she looks a real value bet – particularly if Presenting Percy doesn’t go.
Mala Beach is the last of the Elliott runners and, while this 11-year-old was well behind the favourite in the Galmoy Hurdle, his form last season gives him a better chance than the ante post price suggests.
He won the Troytown in 2017 and scored again over further at Down Royal; so, if coming on for that hurdles spin, a general 12/1 looks generous and possible each-way value.
If Champagne Harmony takes up his engagement here, then he’s got a mountain to climb on official figures. He has failed to complete races far too often and is thus readily discounted.
The market hinges on Presenting Percy turning up and it’s a tight betting heat that could become livelier if he doesn’t.