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Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

In-form Flemensfirth all set for 21st consecutive covering season

Beeches Stud stalwart has been firing in winners this weekend

Flemensfirth with Robert McCarthy's father Bobby at Beeches Stud
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Having recently highlighted the deepening influence of Presenting through his daughters on these pages – and his maternal grandson Rapid Escape duly won the Listed bumper at Navan on Sunday to prove the point – the weekend action drew attention to the achievements of another elder statesman of the jumps stallion ranks.

Flemensfirth, aged 25 – the same age Presenting was when he passed away at Glenview Stud in August – supplied Sunday's competitive handicap chase winners Fitzhenry and Sizing Titanium, while on Saturday he notched a treble at Fairyhouse with Castlegrace Paddy in the beginners' chase, Dromore Lad in the handicap hurdle and Colreevy in the bumper.

Furthermore on Friday, Flemensfirth's son Robinsfirth landed the Grade 3 Unicoin Group Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, and there was a signal of the sire's deepening influence at Navan on Sunday as Next Destination – by Dubai Destination and out of one of his daughters – was an easy winner of the Grade 2 novice hurdle.

This comes in a season that his young sons Invitation Only, Poetic Rhythm and Waiting Patiently have emerged as serious talents, but one also with a sense of 'what if' hanging over it, as another son, Flemenshill, became the most expensive pointer sold at auction at £480,000 in January but died before he could show his talent for new trainer Colin Tizzard.


FLEMENSFIRTH IN NUMBERS

26 the age he turns on January 1

20 the number of consecutive seasons he has covered mares

534 jumps winners sired in his lifetime

1,249 jumps runners who have represented him

43% the impressive winners-to-runners strike-rate that produces

182 the RPR of his best performer, Imperial Commander

£480,000 the record sum paid for his ill-fated son Flemenshill


Flemensfirth and Presenting were colleagues at John Gosden's Stanley House Stables in the mid 1990s. Both developed into Classic prospects, with Flemensfirth finishing fifth to Celtic Swing in the Prix du Jockey Club and Presenting taking third behind Lammtarra in the Derby.

Both also, of course, became outstanding jumps sires, with Flemensfirth responsible for the likes of Flemenstar, Imperial Commander and Tidal Bay, and Presenting represented by Denman, War Of Attrition, Yorkhill and many more stars.

While Presenting will sadly no longer be part of the stallion landscape in 2018, having joined before Tony Blair came to power and before the leading conditional jockey James Bowen was born, Flemensfirth – who was retired a year later – is still, touch wood, hale and hearty with good fertility and is all set to cover his 21st consecutive book of mares at The Beeches Stud in County Waterford.

“He's in great health and is certainly ready to go again,” said the stud's Robert McCarthy on Sunday. “He had 100 mares scanned in foal in 2017 and will cover a limited book of mares next year.”

Asked what he thought was key to Flemensfirth's success, he added: “His progeny are tough, they jump, they stay and when they get into a battle they can usually be relied upon to come out on top. They're just proper National Hunt horses.”

Robinsfirth motors home in the Grade 3 handicap chase at Cheltenham on Friday

Those traits have meant the sire has become a favourite of jumps buyers, with an average price of around £34,000 for his foals at auction this year and £47,000 for his three-year-old stores, plus huge prices paid for his stock who have shown form: not just Flemenshill but also Know The Score, sold to David Pipe for £380,000 at Cheltenham last month, and Beyondthestorm, knocked down to Nicky Henderson for £150,000 at the same venue on Friday.

“He stamps his stock and gets good-lookers,” McCarthy said. “And importantly now his daughters – who are an ideal outcross for the many sons and grandsons of Sadler's Wells around – are also passing on those good looks.”

If history is anything to go by, Flemensfirth could be a sire to follow in the coming weeks, as the festive period has often been kind to him. Last year he posted four bumper winners between December 26 and New Year, and Noble Endeavor took the Paddy Power Chase, while in 2015 Flemenstar and Prince Of Scars handed him a Grade 1 double at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival.


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His progeny are tough, they jump, they stay and when they get into a battle they can usually be relied upon to come out on top

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