Monalee Needs Flawless Effort To Beat Presenting Percy

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Cheltenham Festival Update

Monalee will be aiming to upset Presenting Percy at Cheltenham Festival as the two horses prepare to face off in the RSA Chase. Henry de Bromhead’s charge competed at the Festival last season, racing in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. Despite putting forward a good performance, he was beaten out by Penhill for the crown. The Irish horse will now aim to add his first major crown, but faces a tough task to dislodge Presenting Percy from the winners’ enclosure.

Presenting Percy triumphed in his first experience at Cheltenham last season, securing victory in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle by a comfortable margin. Monalee will have to be at his best to overhaul his rival, being backed in the latest Cheltenham betting odds at 3/1 to win the RSA Chase.

De Bromhead’s charge was considered an outsider candidate for the Novices’ Hurdle last season. With Danny Mullins at the reins, he kept pace with the early leaders and was able to make a charge towards the closing stages. Monalee led with two fences remaining, but Penhill had the pace at the vital moment of the meet to close out the victory by three-and-a-half lengths.

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The Irish horse returned to action for the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle to face off against Penhill once again at Punchestown. However, he was off the pace from the off and was not able to challenge for the victory down in fourth place, ending his National Hunt season on a low note. Although even Penhill was not at his best in the meet, as Champagne Classic secured the win.

Monalee was on form from the off at the start of the new campaign. He took the lead in the early stages of his meet at Punchestown and did not relinquish his stranglehold, delivering the victory by six lengths ahead of Any Second Now after being considered the favourite for the event.

However, the bay gelding lost momentum in his next outing at the Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown. Davy Russell took the reins, but the Irish horse failed to overcome a mistake at the seventh fence before falling at the 10th, failing to finish a race for the first time in his career.

The seven-year-old bounced back at Leopardstown in his next outing, producing a fine performance to win the Flogas Novice Chase. Monalee took charge of the contest from the off and led for the majority of the race. Al Boum Photo provided pressure down the stretch, but De Bromhead’s charge fended off the challenge to close out the win by three-quarters of a length.

Monalee has been up-and-down over the course of his career, but will have to produce a flawless performance to triumph at Cheltenham. Presenting Percy has not been at the peak of his powers, finishing second in his last outing at the Red Mills Chase. The Irish horse may have an opportunity and De Bromhead must ensure that his charge is ready to seize the chance to secure the biggest victory of his career.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 14-time qualifier to the National Handicapping Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He recently won a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is also a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program. He is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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