Percy and Kemboy in the mix for Irish Gold Cup honours

Presenting Percy on his way to winning at Cheltenham

Presenting Percy and Kemboy are among 24 entries for the Unibet Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

Despite having been off the track since his brilliant display in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last March, the Pat Kelly-trained Presenting Percy heads ante-posts lists for this season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.

He has missed several engagements this season already on account of unsuitable ground and the rain will need to arrive in Dublin over the next few weeks if he is to make his belated reappearance on February 3.

Kemboy thrust himself in the Cheltenham Gold Cup picture with an impressive display in the Savills Chase over the Irish Gold Cup course and distance late last month.

He is the 7-2 favourite to follow up at the Dublin Racing Festival – ahead of his stablemate Al Boum Photo and Presenting Percy at 9-2 – although trainer Willie Mullins has indicated he could take Kemboy straight to Prestbury Park in March.

The champion trainer has five contenders for the Irish Gold Cup in all, with Kemboy and Al Boum Photo joined by Bellshill, Killultagh Vic and Total Recall.

Other possibles include Henry de Bromhead’s Monalee and Noel Meade’s Road To Respect, who finished second and third respectively in the aforementioned Savills Chase.

There are three potential British raiders in Ruth Jefferson’s Waiting Patiently, Nicky Henderson’s Top Notch and Jonjo O’Neill’s Minella Rocco.

Sir Erec (right) races clear at Leopardstown
Sir Erec (right) races clear at Leopardstown (Brian Lawless/PA)

The first of four Grade Ones on the afternoon is Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle.

Joseph O’Brien has a strong hand, with course-and-distance winner Sir Erec among his six entries. Other hopefuls among 27 entries include the Tom Mullins-trained Rocky Blue – winner of a Grade Two over the course and distance – and Gordon Elliott’s pair of Chief Justice and Coeur Sublime.

The Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle – formerly known as the Deloitte – has attracted 32 contenders, headed by runaway Future Champions Novice Hurdle winner Aramon. He is one of nine possibles for Willie Mullins along with the likes of Easy Game, Klassical Dream and Tornado Flyer.

Elliott’s recent Naas Grade One winner Battleoverdoyen also features.

The Flogas Novice Chase promises to be a cracker, with Elliott’s dual Grade One winner Delta Work set to be taken on by Warren Greatrex’s top-class mare La Bague Au Roi.

Another Elliott runner in Hardline is also in contention in a list of 25, along with Paloma Blue (Henry de Bromhead) and Winter Escape (Aidan Howard).