Flemenstar: beat Sir Des Champs on his only start at PunchestownPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Wind op rules Casey's star out of Punchestown
FLEMENSTAR, Irish racing's big hope for the jump season and at one stage considered a credible rival to Sprinter Sacre, will skip a rematch on home soil with the Champion Chase winner and instead have a wind operation.
Having rattled off seven consecutive wins since his chasing debut, Flemenstar was considered Ireland's best chaser and a five-length demolition of Gold Cup runner-up Sir Des Champs - his first defeat since the switch to Mullins - at Punchestown in the John Durkan seemed to confirm the suspicion.
However, since then the wheels have somewhat fallen off the Flemenstar locomotive. Beaten when stepped up to 3m in the Lexus Chase and Irish Hennessy, he then failed to fire against Sprinter Sacre and Cue Card when dropped back to 2m4f at Aintree and Peter Casey has decided to draw stumps for the season.
"He has gone home to his owner's [Stephen Curran] farm for the summer and he is going to have a small wind operation," he told the Racing Post on Thursday. "He was a long way below his best at Aintree and ran no sort of race.
"He wasn't right afterwards and had some type of infection. He's been in better form this week but Punchestown had to be ruled out and I'd imagine he probabl y won't reappear until the Fortria Chase at Navan in November."
Flemenstar had been expected to contest the highlight of the opening day of the Punchestown festival, the Grade 1 Boylesports.com Champion Chase over 2m, facing Aintree rivals Sprinter Sacre, Cue Card and Finian's Rainbow again, as well as Sizing Europe.