Flemenstar in action at Fairyhouse last year
©Healy Racing Photos
Flemenstar opened what looks sure to be an an exciting season with a superb victory in the Irish Form Book Fortria Chase at Navan.
Peter Casey's seven-year-old (10-11 favourite), who enjoyed a brilliant novice campaign, was sent straight into the lead by Andrew Lynch and put in an exhibition round of slick jumping.
Biz Zeb and Foildubh were still on the premises in the straight, butp>Flemenstar ran on strongly to dispose of the former, winner of the race for the last three years, by seven lengths. He now heads for the John Durkan at Punchestown.
Oliver McKiernan's 10-year-old Whatuthink (25-1) sprung a major surprise when he led all the way under Tom Doyle and held off the attentions of the long odds-on Voler La Vedette in the Lismullen Hurdle.
Colm Murphy's mare (1-7 favourite), was held up in rear, but after closing into second going to the third-last she could make no more progress and went down by four and a quarter lengths.
The Henry de Bromhead-trained Sizing Rio (4-5 favourite) remains unbeaten over obstacles after leading virtually all the way to take the 'For Auction' Novice Hurdle.
The four-year-old had to be driven along by Andrew Lynch when challenged by Ted Veale after the final flight in the Grade Three contest, but responded well and forged a length and a half clear.
Dessie Hughes's Our Conor (8-13 favourite) brought decent Flat form into the Follow Navan Racecourse Facebook 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle and delivered with some authority, easing away to score by eight and a half lengths under Bryan Cooper.
The jockey doubled up on Jimmy Finn's gambled-on Ballyfinboy (7-1), who built up a massive lead during the St Johann Ski Resort Tirol Austria Handicap Hurdle and kept going to hold Tarquinius's late charge by a neck.
Paul Carberry rode a patient race on Noel Meade's 5-4 favourite Dylan Ross in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase, picking off the opposition to lead on the run-in and beat Lake Windermere by a length and three-quarters.