Flemenstar jumps the last under Andrew Lynch
©Healy Racing Photos
By Donal Murphy
Flemenstar recorded his sixth success in-a-row as he impressively took the Grade 2, Irish Form Book Fortria Chase on his seasonal reappearance at Navan this afternoon.
The Peter Casey trained 7yo son of Flemensfirth had an excellent season last year in Novice company, which saw him win two Grade 1 contests.
Ridden by Andrew Lynch (double on the card after the success of Sizing Rio),Flemenstar made all the running and was pushed out to assert before the last.
The 10/11 favourite was eased near the line as he came home a comfortable seven length winner.
The 11yo Big Zeb, who was bidding to win the race for the fourth year in succession, ran well to finish second under Robbie Power for Colm Murphy at 9/2 while Foildubh was a further length and a half back in third under Davy Condon for John Ryan at 7/1.
Realt Dubh was sent off the 9/4 second favourite under Paul Carberry for Noel Meade but ran below par and finished a distance fourth while Mr Cracker was fifth.
Peter Casey said afterwards: "When he is fit he’ll be a good one! He will go for the John Durkan now at Punchestown.
"He has got stronger since last year but he was only 80% fit today. He got beat here the last two years but I slept well last night, I wasn’t worried about him.
"Andrew knows him well. There is no use in telling him what to do.
"After he goes over two and a half in the Durkan we will think about running him over three miles. He should get three miles on breeding."
Paddy Powers, Sean Graham’s and Boylesports have all cut the winner from 10/1 to 8/1 for the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March while Stan James have pushed him out to 10/1 from 8/1.
They have however made him the 5/1 favourite (from 7/1) for the Ryanair Chase at the Festival.
(Additional reporting by Michael Graham)