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Flemenstar: entered in the Champion Chase, Ryanair and Gold Cup

  PICTURE: Caroline Norris  

Flemenstar likely to miss Cheltenham Festival

FLEMENSTAR is almost certainly out of the Cheltenham Festival after trainer Peter Casey on Monday night revealed his stable star has a lung infection which is likely to have contributed to his defeat by Sir Des Champs in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown on Saturday.

"Our vet Paddy Kelly came to check him out today and everything else was perfect, his bloods and all, but he has picked up a lung infection," Casey said.

"I knew something was up on Saturday. He wasn't striding out  the way he usually does down the back straight. That wasn't the real Flemenstar. 

"He's 90 per cent certain to miss Cheltenham. To be honest I'd say it's practically 100 per cent as I can't imagine there would be enough time to have him ready. We will more than likely try to get him ready for the two-and-a-half miler at Aintree [Melling Chase] now. That looks the best option for him. 

"It's obviously a blow but he's a young horse with plenty of years left in him. He'll come back from it. I've no doubt about that."

Flemenstar was the general 3-1 favourite for the Ryanair Chase and 5-1 second favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase behind Sprinter Sacre.

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