Gowran Park preview: Is Red Mills Chase trip too sharp for Presenting Percy?Published on: February 14, 2019Author: Jamie Clark
Red Mills Chase day at Gowran Park is another chance to see Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy in action. He goes in the feature race there on Saturday (15:05) over what is in truth an inadequate trip.
Pat Kelly’s stable star finally made his belated return to action when defending his Galmoy Hurdle crown at this venue last month. Presenting Percy ran in this Grade 2 horse race as prep for the RSA at the Cheltenham Festival 12 months ago, but finished a length second to the ill-fated Our Duke.
Given the 2m 4f distance isn’t the test of stamina he needs to be seen to best effect, he is plenty short enough as an odds-on favourite to go one better this year. Presenting Percy remains hugely respected and the is top rated in the field, but he’s a three mile and up horse.
Monalee chased him home in the RSA and filled the same spot behind Kemboy in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas. The form of this Henry De Bromhead trained eight-year-old’s Grade 1 victory in the 2m 5f Flogas last February looks very good in relation to this race.
Horses from second down to seventh have all come out and won at least once since. It might just be that Monalee is more effective dropping back down in trip than Presenting Percy, so he looks well worth chancing at a standout 3/1 with William Hill.
Willie Mullins has won two of the last four renewals, and could send both Bachasson, a hurdles winner at this trip on reappearance, and Killultagh Vic in search of more Red Mills Chase glory. Both hold entries in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan the following day, however.
Bachasson looks best of rest
Bachasson is the sole course and distance winner in the line-up, having bested subsequent Irish Grand National hero General Principle in a beginners event on this card two years ago. He also has victories at Listed level over further and greater scope for improvement than his stable companion.
Killultagh Vic was just 1 1/2 lengths behind Presenting Percy in the Galmoy Hurdle when third last time out, and could come on for the run. It’s fair to say he’s not been the easiest for Mullins to train, however, and Bachasson thus looks the safer bet at a general 7/1.
Major owners Gigginstown House Stud and JP McManus could both run two in the Red Mills Chase. The former have rank outsider A Toi Phil, who just can’t be fancied off these terms, and Alpha Des Obeaux.
It’s the latter that may have an each-way squeak on fine runs in the Clonmel Oil Chase over this trip behind Kemboy, and in the Thyestes at this venue last month where he was also second. Alpha Des Obeaux has stronger claims than odds of 14/1 with Unibet suggest.
Neither of the McManus duo, Anibale Fly and Edwulf, are suited by this trip. Both want three miles minimum, though the former is 2lb well-in on Presenting Percy and beat Alpha Des Obeaux off level weights over this distance in a Grade 1 novice chase at Fairyhouse.
Monalee and Bachasson look the best value bets in a trappy renewal where a few are racing over shorter than optimum. Alpha Des Obeaux would be one to consider each-way if bookmakers were paying three places.
Farclas faces big ask in Red Mills Trial Hurdle
The other graded race on the Gowran Park card is the 2m Red Mills Trial Hurdle (13:55). Farclas goes under a maximum penalty for Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown. Last season’s Triumph Hurdle hero, like so many before him, has found open company tough.
This is an ease in grade on paper from twice going down by 25 lengths to Apple’s Jade, but Farclas concedes 10lb and more to the field. Despite that he’s 9/4 best with Coral to resume winning ways as a five-year-old.
Last year’s winner Forge Meadow heads the betting and, thanks to a handy sex allowance, is 2lb well-in on Farclas. Jessica Harrington’s charge hasn’t got her head in front since, however, but is the only course and distance victor in the race.
A repeat of that run from 12 months ago would give Forge Meadow every chance of landing back-to-back renewals, so she is 15/8 with Paddy Power. The most intriguing runner is McManus’ French import Darasso, who is 7lb well-in on Farclas on official figures.
The Joseph O’Brien trained six-year-old has run over two-and-a-half and three miles since coming to Ireland. He now drops down to the minimum trip for the first time, but is another that could go to Navan for the Boyne Hurdle instead.
Coeur Sublime a contender
Twice a Listed handicap winner in France, Darasso is 5/2 to make it third time lucky in Emerald Isle. The betting can only see one other horse winning this, and that’s Coeur Sublime, who gets weight all-round.
This Elliott trained juvenile brings good Flat form to the table as he beat St Leger third Southern France. Coeur Sublime was also unlucky not to win a Grade 3 against others his own age on his penultimate start.
He could now step into open company with nothing between him and Forge Meadow on adjusted ratings, which makes him 2lb well-in on Farclas. A 3/1 price with Betfair to score here highlights how bookmakers feel plenty is in his favour.
Bar those four, the others are double figure prices with the once-raced Glamorgan Duke a big outsider. Cristal Icon has a mountain to climb on official figures, meanwhile, and Rashaan could be back over hurdles here.
Only the latter, a multi-purpose horse who did win the Grade 2 WKD Hurdle in 2016 can really enter the reckoning. Rashaan had a spin on the all-weather recently which he should strip fitter for, but he was novice chasing for most of last year and odds of 12/1 reflect that.