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Flemenstar: rumours had been circulating over switch of trainer

  PICTURE: Caroline Norris  

Flemenstar owner confirms Martin switch

TOP chaser Flemenstar will not be returning to Peter Casey's yard this season, and will instead join Tony Martin, owner Stephen Curran has confirmed.

Curran had refused to deny the speculation earlier in the month that the eight-year-old would be switching yards, and on Friday confirmed the three-time Grade 1 winner has joined Martin.

Curran said:  "Flemenstar will now be trained by Tony Martin. He has plenty of horses in training and Flemenstar will have more horses to work with. Peter is just low on horses at the moment.

"We have parted ways. There was no falling out or anything like that and we have ended on good terms. I just feel that moving the horse is the right thing to do at this moment in time. 

"I have nothing but the utmost respect for Peter and all the Caseys. I was good to them and they were good to me. It's just one of those things. The horse enjoyed a great few years with them and I would like to thank them for all the work they did with the horse."

A tweet from Casey late on Thursday had all but confirmed his stable star was set for a switch, saying: "I am so pleased to have achieved 12 runs, eight wins, four placed, €313,749 in prize-money with Flemenstar. Good luck to all in the future."

Last season Flemenstar won the Fortria Chase at Navan and John Durkan Chase at Punchestown, before stepping up to 3m, finishing third in the Lexus Chase and runner-up to Sir Des Champs in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

Flemenstar then dropped back to 2m4f but finished a well-beaten third to Sprinter Sacre in the Melling Chase at Aintree.

However, illness was blamed for his post-Christmas efforts, with Flemenstar suffering from a virus, and he had a small wind operation following his last run.

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