Flemenstar: trainer Peter Casey warns Sunday's race is not his main targetPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Flemenstar faces tough task in Navan comeback
FLEMENSTAR, one of Ireland's most exciting novice chasers last season, returns at Navan on Sunday in a high-quality Grade 2 chase.
The seven-year-old, trained by the colourful Peter Casey, will tackle probably the toughest test of his career when he faces four rivals including Grade 1 winners Big Zeb and Realt Dubh in the 2m Irish Form Book Fortria Chase.
But Casey insists Flemenstar, who strung together five consecutive wins last season, should not be judged on his reappearance.
“He’s been beaten the last two times he’s come back from his summer break and both those were down to fitness," he said.
"He’s a much stronger horse this year, but it’s a strong field too and our plan is not here, it’s the John Durkan [at Punchestown on December 9].”
Big Zeb, having his first run of the season, is out to win the Fortria Chase for a remarkable fourth year running but trainer Colm Murphy struck a cautious note assessing his chances and the bookies seem to agree, making him 5-1 against Flemenstar's 5-6.
“He’s 11 now and I’m just hoping that the years still aren’t catching up with him as he seems very well. He has won this race the last three years, but this is probably the toughest field and we’re just keep our fingers crossed for a good run to start him off," said Murphy.
Completing the line-up is 5-2 second favourite Realt Dubh, who made his reappearance finishing fourth seven days ago in the Champion Chase at Down Royal, 10-1 chance Foildubh, receiving weight all round, and 33-1 outsider Mr Cracker.