Presenting Percy found to be lame after Gold Cup run

Presenting Percy was found to be lame after his tame performance in the Cheltenham Gold Cup this afternoon, in which he was sent off the 100-30 favourite. A post-race examination by the veterinary officer during routine testing reported the Pat Kelly-trained eight-year-old to be lame on his right hind.

Owner Philip Reynolds earlier refused to blame an unconventional preparation for Presenting Percy’s eighth-placed finish, 33 lengths adrift of winner Al Boum Photo.

Presenting Percy had not run over fences since winning the RSA Chase 12 months earlier but Reynolds, the son of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, said: “I said before the race I wasn’t going to give his preparation as an excuse. Maybe the horse just isn’t good enough.

“Maybe he’s not a Gold Cup horse, maybe he’s just a three-miler. There’s a huge difference between three miles and three miles two and those couple of extra furlongs can make all the difference.

“He didn’t jump with the same fluency as he did last year. I thought from the get-go he was struggling even to hold his position at times – he didn’t have the usual cut he would at a fence. He’s a much better jumper than he showed today.”

Davy Russell reported to the stewards that Presenting Percy, tasked with becoming the first horse since Easter Hero in 1929 to win the Gold Cup without running over fences all season, was never travelling having made an early mistake and that his saddle slipped mid-race.

The rider, winless at the festival for the first time in 14 years, said: “It was disappointing. He didn’t travel like he did last year. He never really got into a rhythm.”

On plans for the rest of the season Reynolds said: “We’ll see how he comes out of that, he looked all right straight after. It’s early in the season for him yet, that’s only his second run. Last year we pulled up stumps after Cheltenham. I’ll talk to Pat in the morning and we’ll see how the horse is and make up our minds then.”

He added: “There’s no point in saying otherwise, it’s deflating. I don’t know that I’ll ever send off a favourite for a Gold Cup again. Of course I’m disappointed and I’d prefer to be leading in a winner than leading out a favourite, but that’s horse racing.

“I’ve been in it long enough and at least we live to fight another day, I’ve still got a horse. When you see what happened to poor Sir Erec in the first race, that’s what horse racing can do to you and I’ve got a horse coming home and JP [McManus] doesn’t.”