'Horse of a lifetime' - prolific Grade 1 winner Flemenstar retired
Flemenstar who won four Grade 1s over fences, including the John Durkan at Punchestown in 2012 has run his last race, after owner Stephen Curran decided the time was right to hand the 12-year-old a happy retirement.
The popular chaser was pulled up in the Foxrock Handicap Chase at Navan on Saturday, after making a desperate error at the second fence.
"We had Flemenstar as a foal and he was the horse of a lifetime for us. We might never get another one like him. He doesn't owe me or anybody anything," Curran said.
He added: "He made a bad mistake at Navan and was never right after it. It was only right that we retired him. It would have been awful if something had happened to him on the track. We now have him home safe and sound and he can have a happy retirement. Few deserves it as much as him."
Flemenstar won ten of his 27 career starts and his four Grade 1 wins were by a combined winning distance of 36 lengths.
He shot to prominence as a novice chaser, winning five of his six starts. Two of those were in Grade 1s, the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown and the Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse.
Flemenstar returned the following season to beat Big Zeb by seven lengths in the Fortria Chase at Navan in November and followed that up with a third Grade 1 success in the John Durkan at Punchestown where he disposed of Sir Des Champs by five lengths.
Many race fans will remember him best for a race he didn't win, though. Trying three miles for the first time, Flemenstar travelled through the Lexus Chase at Leoparstown in 2012 like a genuine Gold Cup contender but he did not get home and was collared in the dying strides by Tidal Bay.
His final success at the top level came as a ten-year-old at Leopardstown where he took advantage of the second-last fence fall of Un De Sceaux.
"It is such a shame he picked up an injury and missed two crucial seasons when he was in his prime. They might well have been the best years of his life but that's horseracing and we can't be too disappointed," Curran added.
FLEMENSTAR'S FAB FOUR
1. Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase (Leopardstown, January 2012)
It was a performance which prompted his colourful trainer Peter Casey to tell RTE's Tracey Piggott: "I'll have f****** sex tonight and everything." Flemenstar produced a brilliant round of jumping under Andrew Lynch and powered to an 19-length victory over Gift Of Dgab. It was the first of his four Grade 1 wins and the widest winning margin of the four.
2. John Durkan Memorial Chase (Punchestown, December 2012)
Just three runners but his two rivals were the previous season's JLT winner Sir Des Champs and former Grade 1 winner Rubi Light. It was more about quality than quantity. Flemenstar made all, jumped beautifully and coasted to a five-length success over Sir Des Champs.
3. Powers Gold Cup (Fairyhouse, April 2012)
Peter Casey wisely decided to sidestep Cheltenham in favour of a crack at the Grade 1 Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse's Easter festival and what a shrewd move that proved to be. The 11-10 favourite was always in cruise control and eased to an 11-length victory over Rathlin. It was his fifth success from six starts over fences that season.
4. Paddy Power "So Quick, So Easy iPhone App" Chase (Leopardstown, December 2015)
It was his last chance to shine under the spotlight and, when odds-on favourite Un De Sceaux crashed out at the second-last, Flemenstar did not need a second invitation to land the spoils. He stuck his neck out and battled his way to a tenth career win, edging out British raider Simply Ned by a length. It proved to be his last success.
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