Flemenstar's comeback win shortens his Gold Cup odds

 

However frivolous the curiosity provoked by his trainer last season, there can be no doubt that Flemenstar is a very serious talent.

After he had a breakthrough success at Leopardstown in January, Peter Casey achieved instant celebrity in Ireland with his salacious remarks in a live television interview. But while this mischievous septuagenarian undoubtedly contributes to the appeal of Flemenstar, in a sport nowadays dominated by a few big stables, attention is increasingly commanded by the horse himself. Rising eight, and entering a majestic physical pomp, he is now 7-1 from 9-1 with Coral for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup – even though his comeback performance at Navan yesterday would warrant still shorter odds for the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

With a long campaign beckoning, Casey had warned that Flemenstar would need the run in the Fortria Chase. His rivals, in contrast, arrived either with races already under their belt, or a record of going especially well fresh – the veteran, Big Zeb, having won the last three runnings. Having proved himself over two and a half miles at Fairyhouse in the spring, and the Gold Cup evidently top of his agenda, any kind of prominent showing back over the minimum distance would have represented a perfectly acceptable foundation. As it was, Flemenstar saw out the race with terrific panache.

Jumping superbly in the lead for Andrew Lynch, he was briefly menaced by Big Zeb from three fences out, but came bounding clear from the last to win by seven lengths. Realt Dubh admittedly dropped away after a mistake at halfway, but this was none the less an immaculate resumption. "When he is fit he'll be a good one!" Casey said. "He has got stronger since last year but he was only 80 per cent fit today. We'd done just enough work to get him here, but he blew up down the back."

The Co Meath trainer will now restore Flemenstar to two and a half miles in the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown on 9 December, before testing his stamina over three – the Lexus Chase at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting looking an obvious cue for that experiment. In one or both of those races, Flemenstar could well bump into the other top novice to emerge from Ireland last season, Sir Des Champs. "I have no worries about the longer trip," Casey said. "He's bred to get it and I think he will."

Coming the day after John Gosden, Richard Hughes and Amy Ryan had formally sealed their respective titles, at the final turf fixture of the British Flat season, Flemenstar gave immediate impetus to the jumps agenda. Lynch had already ridden two good horses earlier on the card, however, albeit with contrasting fortunes. Voler La Vedette was turned over at 1-7 on her return, but Sizing Rio followed up an 18-length romp at Punchestown with another promising success in his second start over hurdles. It may be that Henry De Bromhead, who runs Sizing Europe at Clonmel on Thursday, has found a potential heir to his stable star. "He is a real galloping horse and the faster they go the better he'll be," De Bromhead said. "He's a big, raw four-year-old – one for the future, and fences." He added that better ground would suit Sizing Rio, who will now be given a break before himself heading to Leopardstown at Christmas.

Ted Walsh also has a very promising youngster on his hands in Champagne James, a stylish winner of the bumper on his debut. Back on the home front, meanwhile, the usual mediocre Monday fare is relieved at Carlisle today by the reappearance of Cappa Bleu in a graduation chase.

Last seen finishing strongly for fourth in the John Smith's Grand National, the former champion hunter remains very lightly raced and Evan Williams plans to gear his whole season to Aintree.

Williams prepared State Of Play to make the frame in three consecutive Nationals and, all going well in the meantime, can clearly be trusted to bring Cappa Bleu to his peak next April. "We wanted to find him a nice little race somewhere so he can go and enjoy himself," Williams said. "He's still inexperienced, having only had seven runs over fences, so we'll keep chipping away with him. The National is the only race I'm thinking of."

Turf Account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Well Hello There (2.15 Southwell) Showed he can go well fresh when landing a gamble on his return last winter and remains unexposed, having disappeared after pulling miles clear at Ascot last December.

Next best

Set In Her Ways (2.45 Southwell) Stable in form and looks fairly treated on her bumper form and bumped into a well treated one when travelling nicely over a longer trip on her last visit here.

One to watch

Magic Hurricane (James Fanshawe) shaped nicely on his debut at Nottingham the other day, promising more to come over middle distances.

Where the money's going

Al Ferof is 10-1 from 16-1 with William Hill for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 3 Welsh Teacher vacancy in Penarth

£110 - £120 per day + Travel Scheme and Free training: Randstad Education Card...

Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

Male Behaviour Support Assistant vacancy in Penarth

£55 - £65 per day + Travel Scheme and Free Training: Randstad Education Cardif...

BA/PM,EMIR/Dodd-Frank,London,£450-650P/D

£450 - £650 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz