Cheltenham Festival 2019: Clan Des Obeaux vs Presenting Percy – who will win the Gold Cup?
We've looked hard at the contest and assessed whether the winner be Clan Des Obeaux, Presenting Percy – or something totally different.
The big talking point in the lead up to the Festival is whether Presenting Percy can win the race off the back off just one run over hurdles.
He's certainly got to defy the stats – but then his trainer Pat Kelly is a man who flies in the face of the tried and tested.
The Irish maestro is an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in a mystery – as well as being a complete and total genius.
There's no doubting his star chaser will be fit enough on the day, but whether he's good enough is another matter.
Yes, he annihilated his opposition in the RSA last year, but he's not yet raced over fences in open company – which could leave him vulnerable.
The rain that's falling will help him, as will the presence of dangerman Davy Russell, whose Festival record is more impressive than the Rolling Stones.
Can he beat Clan Des Obeaux? Paul Nicholls certainly doesn't think so.
The Ditcheat dynamo has campaigned his seven-year-old patiently and expertly – just as you would expect from the man who brought us Kauto Star and Denman.
Clan Des Obeaux may not be quite in their mould, but he's already a King George winner and has done a significant amount more in his chasing career than his main market rival.
An easy win in the Denman Chase last time didn't tell us much more than we already know, but it did at least show us he's a totally different performer from the babyish gelding that turned up in the Betfair Chase.
He jumps well, travels oh so sweetly and has even started to find something off the bridle.
He and Harry Cobden make for a potentially lethal combination.
And what of the rest?
Perhaps the most dangerous is last year's winner, Native River.
He'll need a cloudburst or three but the forecast is promising in that regard and he and Might Bite finished well clear of the opposition last year.
Unfortunately Nicky Henderson's contender has been a total flop this campaign and the ground is unlikely to be rattling like he would like.
Kemboy is the most interesting for me. He scooted home faster than Raven's Pass in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown and has progressed hand over fist since last season.
He bids to give Willie Mullins a first winner in the great race, which is a surprising stat in itself.
Bellshill also carries the Closutton colours, with his win in the Irish Gold Cup last time looking decent form.
Discount Thistlecrack, Al Boum Photo and Road To Respect at your peril, in what looks one of the most fascinating renewals for many years.
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