Owner Philip Reynolds admits he is feeling the nerves before Presenting Percy's bid for Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup glory.

Already a dual Festival winner, the Pat Kelly-trained eight-year-old has been towards the head of the market for the blue riband ever since sealing his second victory in the Cotswolds with a scintillating display in the RSA Chase last March.

His preparation for the most prestigious race in National Hunt racing has been far from conventional, however - with his successful defence of the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park in January his only competitive start since last year's Festival.

Presenting Percy nonetheless carries the hopes of a nation on Friday afternoon - something that is not lost on his owner.

Reynolds said: "I don't understand the whole 'people's horse' thing, but he's a horse that goes out and gives you everything he's got. He puts it on the line every day he goes out, and I think people admire that.

"Pat is pleased with him, and it would of course be very special to win a Gold Cup on a number of levels.

"He's been favourite for the Gold Cup since he won the RSA last year, and it's very hard to put it out of your mind - particularly when you're on the run-up to a race as well.

"It's easier when he's in Pat's and I know he's being looked after and couldn't be in better hands. But when we're in the parade ring before a race, it's terrifying, to be honest.

"I expect it will be much the same."

Having saddled the runner-up on six occasions, Willie Mullins has a strong hand of four runners as he bids to finally break his Gold Cup hoodoo.


Ruby Walsh is on board Irish Gold Cup winner Bellshill, with David Mullins keeping the ride on Savills Chase victor Kemboy.

Mullins said: "We have four runners - and depending on what happens on the day, any one could win.

"Bellshill put in a huge performance, I thought, the last day - and he's improving. Cheltenham hasn't been his luckiest place. Maybe this is the year that he's going to change that.

"Kemboy is improving too. We didn't run him in the Irish Gold Cup. Maybe we should have done, but I felt he'd done enough at Christmas and we'd just get him ready for this race.

"It's a funny year. Lots of form has been turned upside down - and it's quite an open Gold Cup, I think. He goes there with a good chance."

That pair are joined by stablemates Al Boum Photo (Paul Townend) and Invitation Only (Patrick Mullins).

Mullins junior said: "I don't think the ground will inconvenience any of ours. I suppose Kemboy might prefer better ground, but it will be fresh ground in the Gold Cup.

"I don't think there's a lot between our top three. Bellshill hasn't shown his best form at Cheltenham, but might be better running on the New Course for the first time.

"Kemboy and Al Boum Photo are two improving, young horses and have travelled over well.

"Hopefully one of them can finally deliver the Gold Cup for Closutton."