Owner Philip Reynolds has moved all eight of his horses away from trainer Pat Kelly, with star chaser and dual Cheltenham Festival winner Presenting Percy joining County Meath handler Gordon Elliott.
It is a surprising move in my eyes given the success that the pair have enjoyed and will be a bitter pill to swallow for small trainer Kelly.
Presenting Percy landed a monster gamble in in the Pertemps Final at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival before on to follow-up 12 months later with a brilliant and breathtaking success in the RSA Chase.
That victory propelled the nine-year-old to the head of the ante-post lists for the following year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Despite lining up for the Gold Cup off the back of just one winning run over hurdles, Presenting Percy was sent off the 100/30 favourite but failed to shine and trailed in a well-beaten eighth behind Al Boum Photo. He was later found to have a back problem.
The son of Sir Percy ran four times last season without winning. In what turned out to be his last start for Kelly, Presenting Percy fell two from home in this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Presenting Percy won 10 of his 23 starts under Kelly and over £300,000 in total prize-money. Away from Cheltenham, he landed back-to-back Grade 2 Galmoy Hurdle wins at Gowran Park in 2018 and 2019.
Reynolds felt that the time was now right for a change. He said: “It has been a very difficult decision, but now is the right time for a change. Pat and I remain friends and I will be forever grateful to him.
“The horses will go to a few guys who already train for me, with Presenting Percy joining Gordon.”
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Mall Dini a dream first success for Reynolds
Reynolds and Kelly also enjoyed success at the Cheltenham Festival with Mall Dini. He landed the Pertemps Final in 2016 and also ran well when fifth in the Kim Muir the following year and runner-up in the same contest in 2018.
His success in the Pertemps was a first at the Cheltenham Festival for Reynolds who had been chasing the dream of glory at the meeting since the mid-1980s when he placed his first horse with a trainer.
Kelly has worked wonders with the limited resources available and there must now be a big question mark as to what the future holds for the County Galway handler.
Mohaather storms to Sussex Stakes glory
Mohaather put up in a stunning performance of speed to land the highlight of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, the Group 1 Sussex Stakes, and establish himself as the leading miler in Europe.
The Marcus Tregoning trained and Hamdan Al Maktoum owned four-year-old faces some top class oppo enets in the shape of English and Irish 2000 Guineas winner Kameko and Siskin, along with last time out Royal Ascot Group 1 winner Circus Maximus.
It was a contest dubbed the race of the season and fully lived up to its billing with Mohaather overcoming all sorts of trouble in-running before scoring impressively.
Two furlongs from home, the winner still had five of the seven runners in front of him with jockey Jim Crowley facing a wall of horses. However, Crowley did not panic though and pulled his mount wide approaching the final furlong.
When he asked Mohaather to go about his business, the response was electric and Mohaather showed a blistering turn of foot to overhaul leader Circus Maximus and wing going on to win by a cosy 3/4 of a length at odds of 3/1. The hitherto unbeaten Siskin finished 1/2 a length further behind in third.
The winning handler said: “I have had to wait a long time for this, but quite honestly we didn’t have the horses.
“It’s a big day for the team and for Sheikh Hamdan. It was a tactical race today and we thought it would be. He struggled to get out, he is not the biggest horse and he struggled to find a gap, but Jim kept his calm and with the knowledge that he has that massive kick.”
The Breeders Cup Mile now looks the most likely target for the hugely exciting Mohaather.
Arc on agenda for record-breaking stayer Stradivarius
Owner Bjorn Nielson is aiming is superstar stayer Stradivarius at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe after he created history when becoming the first horse to win the Group 1 Goodwood Cup four times, adding to his wins in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
The Johns Gosden trained six-year-old, who was sent off the 4/7 favourite, found himself short of roomtwi from home as Nayef Road bowled along at the head of affairs.
But when regular pilot Frankie Dettori asked Stradivarius to go and win the race inside the final when finding the necessary opening he quickened impressively.
After taking the lead half a furlong out he won cosily by length from Nayef Road. The 15/8 second favourite, this season’s Grade 1 Irish Derby winner Santiago held every chance two furlongs out but was unable to quicken in the final furlong and finished third.
A delighted Gosden said: “Stradivarius is not big in stature and actually today he is carrying 10st 1lb because he has 3lbs for the jockey’s equipment and 3lbs for the weight allowance due to Covid-19 and the way the season is.
“He has been in tremendous form since Royal Ascot. But I knew that, you know, you keep piling those big races on. He ran in the Coronation Cup and he ran brilliantly and obviously the Gold Cup before this, so he is going to have a freshen up now.”
He added: “The owner wants to go a different route with him now. He would like to freshen him up, give him a nice holiday and go for the Prix Foy at Longchamp in September. If he runs a nice race there and handles the track and everything, then he will run in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.”