Flemenstar retirement talk rubbished with Clonmel hurdles start this week
Connections of four-time Grade 1 winner Flemenstar have quashed any talk of retirement for their veteran performer, as the popular performer looks set for another campaign, beginning over hurdles.
As a 12-year-old who has been competing since March 2010, the one-time Cheltenham Gold Cup hope will begin his season at Clonmel in an extended two mile hurdle on Thursday.
Trainer Anthony Curran said: "If all goes to plan you'll see Flemenstar at Clonmel at Thursday. He never lost any enthusiasm for the game – he's still mad for it."
Explaining the decision to start his stable star over hurdles for the first time since April 2011, Curran revealed: "He's only had two runs over hurdles before but we gave him a few pops and he seemed to enjoy himself. A change is as good as a rest."
Asked whether retirement could be on the cards any time soon for his almost-teenage chaser, Curran said: "No, we'll still tip along with him this year as he seems to be enjoying himself. He's been absolutely brilliant for us."
Jockey Manuel Fernandes ends career after best-ever season
Jockey Manuel Fernandes has decided to halt his career with an up-coming operation making it difficult for the rider to re-establish himself and commit to riding regularly.
Fernandes, 26, underwent a serious operation on his intestines at the start of the year, but returned to race-riding against his expectations and enjoyed his best-ever season with 16 winners and over £80,000 in prize-money.
However, the Portuguese rider faces another operation and more time out, so has quit the saddle and will focus instead on being part of the team at Sir Mark Prescott's, where he has been a crucial part of the preparation of star sprinter Marsha, among others.
He said: “It’s too much to keep working hard and then have to suddenly stop. It’s hard for me to keep saying to trainers that I’ll ride and then not be able to do that. I don’t want to be in that position.
"If I was a year younger I might have given it another go but it’s too late. I can’t ride in apprentice races anymore so my chances are even less than they were before."
He added: "I think it’s better for me to stop. This was my best season and all year me and my agent [Mark Furnass] wanted me to get down to my 5lb claim and we did it. We achieved everything we set out to do and we’re proud of that."
Voice of Racing prize draw
Riding breeches signed by more than 40 Flat jockeys, including Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore, mornings on the gallops with Brian Meehan and Fergal O'Brien plus hospitality at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival are among the prizes to be won in the Voice of Racing prize draw.
Tickets, which cost £5, can be bought via attheraces.com/vor for the draw, which ends at 10pm on November 20 and supports the Sir Peter O'Sullevan Charitable Trust, the Injured Jockeys Fund and Irish Injured Jockeys.
Syndicates association stages AGM
The Racehorse Syndicates Association, whose members include many of the sport's best known racing syndicates and clubs, is to hold its AGM at the offices of the BHA in High Holborn, London on Wednesday. It will start at 11.30am.
The RSA was established to promote the benefits of shared ownership and good practice within the industry and is striving to enhance the raceday ownership experience for syndicates.
Membership has more than doubled in the last 12 months and includes Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, Middleham Park Racing, Chelsea Thoroughbred and the Racegoers Club.
Members can read the latest exclusive interviews, news analysis and comment available from 6pm daily on racingpost.com