Flemenstar: all options remain open for the exciting chaserPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Flemenstar to stick at 3m in Hennessy Gold Cup
FLEMENSTAR, narrowly beaten in Friday's Lexus Chase on his first start over 3m, will tackle the same trip again in the Hennessy Gold Cup back at Leopardstown on February 9.
After looking the likely winner before tiring close home in the Lexus, connections hinted that the three-time Grade 1-winning chaser would drop back in trip and he was introduced as a general second-favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase by bookmakers on Saturday morning.
However, trainer Peter Casey said a decision on which race Flemenstar would target at Cheltenham would not be made until after the Hennessy, not ruling out any of the championship races.
"We spoke with Flemenstar's owner, Stephen Curran, this morning and it's been decided that he will go for the Hennessy," said Casey on Saturday. "We'll keep talking things over before the races close, but he'll probably be entered for all three races - Champion Chase, Ryanair and Gold Cup - at Cheltenham and we're in no rush to make any plans for the festival.
"All that's definite is the Hennessy. We think he deserves another shot at the distance. He ran too freely being held up in the Lexus and we probably used the wrong tactics. He jumped super but every time he landed he wanted to go on about his business. The ground was very gluey and that didn't help. He was absolutely fine this morning."
Coral make Flemenstar their 3-1 favourite for the Ryanair, a 4-1 chance for the Champion Chase and 12-1 for the Gold Cup.
Casey added: "Our first reaction was to rule out the Gold Cup at Cheltenham because of the 3m 2½f trip. We could go for one of the shorter distance races instead but if he happens to win the Hennessy then we might have a rethink."