Casey's star smashes Fortria rivals senseless
Report: Navan, Sunday
Irish Form Book Fortria Chase (Grade 2) 2m, 5yo+
FLEMENSTAR, Ireland's emerging chasing superstar, confirmed the impression he made on many last season as he accounted for the highest-class field he has faced with ease, justifying 10-11 favouritism by winning by seven lengths from 2010 Champion Chase winner Big Zeb.
William Hill reacted by cutting him to 8-1 (from 10) for the Gold Cup and 6-1 (from 7) for the Ryanair at the Cheltenham Festival. BetVictor went 7-1 (from 10) and 5-1 (from 6) respectively, while Coral also went 7-1 (from 9) for the Gold Cup.
Trainer Peter Casey said: "I'm thrilled to bits with that. He was only about 80 per cent fit today. We'd done just enough work with him to get him here today but he blew up down the back. We'll keep stepping him up in trip now."
Big-race partner Andrew Lynch added: "He was very good. He'll improve an awful lot for the run too. He gave me a great feel the whole way and felt every bit as good as last year. He's good. Very, very good."
On a day Lynch might describe as 'up and down' - having won the Grade 3 novice hurdle before getting beaten on 1-7 favourite Voler La Vedette - it was the going up and down that impressed most with Flemenstar, who jumped immaculately at the head of the five runners.
Setting a steady gallop, Lynch got a wonderful tune out of his mount, with the two meeting fences in stride and jumping exuberantly.
Turning for home Realt Dubh and Mr Cracker had faded, leaving Foildubh and six-time Grade 1 winner Big Zeb as the only dangers, but in truth the only danger to Flemenstar was himself and with his jumping little short of perfect even that didn't look a possibility.
Pulling clear with ease the exciting seven-year-old looked the real deal and should now go for the John Durkan at Punchestown on November 9.
Casey said: "He'll go to Punchestown next for the John Durkan and after that we'll think about stepping him up to three miles. I have no worries about him staying the longer trip. He's bred to get it and I think he will."