Presenting Percy made his seasonal debut at Gowran Park on Thursday and got off to a winning start strengthening his favouritism at the top of the Gold Cup market at now a best priced 3/1.
The Patrick Kelly trained eight year old travelled into the race really well and struck the front coming up to the last flight and held off competition from three of the Willie Mullins runners to land the Grade 2 spoils.
There was question marks about the Dual Cheltenham winner after not being seen since his emphatic seven length victory at the festival and some good horses running in the race that had already had a run out this season.
He drifted into 2/1 before the off but was squeezed out just as the starter ordered the beginning of the race and went off at 9/4.
Coming to the last two fences there was four horses that could have gone on to win the race with Rich Ricci's duo of Bapaume and Limini creeping in just behind and Mullins other runner Killultagh Vic making the running through the race.
Presenting Percy crept to the front and stayed on well to fend off the competition. He truly showed why his trainer and owner think so highly of him and also why he is he Cheltenham Gold Cup clear favourite.
His jockey Davy Russell is also his number one fan and he has been on board him on his last 10 rides. He was over the moon with the geldings performance and had a lot to say.
(Credit Racing Post) Russell said: "He's a professional – he's been around for a while now – and he's trained by a very professional trainer in Pat Kelly.
"He gave me a good feel all the way through the race and we're very happy with him.
"He got a round of applause coming back into the winner's enclosure and he nearly got one on the way out to the track beforehand – that's the beauty of jump racing."
Owner Philip Reynolds Russell's sentiments and remarked: "We've been patient with him and it's come off. We would have looked fools if it hadn't. People seem to love the horse and with it comes a responsibility.
"I think he was fantastic today. To have a horse like this is incredible. Pat Kelly has only one day in mind for him so there is bound to be some improvement there."
Last season Presenting Percy took a very similar approach on his road to winning at the Cheltenham Festival and he will be hoping that this seasons preparation will have the same effect as it did in 2018.
Although the main target for the eight year old is the Gold Cup at Prestbury Park, Reynolds has thrown the Stayers Hurdle into the mix as a potential fall back option at the meeting.
The next step for the superstar looks to be the Red Mills Chase back at Gowran Park in which he will meet the bigger obstacles for the first time this year.
Reynolds added: "If he were to miss the Red Mills Chase for any reason or if things do not go to plan in that, then the Stayers’ Hurdle could come into the equation. However, the Gold Cup is plan A."
(Credit Racing TV)