©Healy Racing Photos
Peter Casey believes Flemenstar is "better than he ever was" ahead of the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown on Saturday week.
Having looked all over the winner rounding the home turn on his first attempt at three miles in the Lexus Chase last month, the seven-year-old began to tread water after the final fence and was caught close home by both Tidal Bay and First Lieutenant in a barnstorming finish.
Given he was beaten just three-quarters of a length, connections are keen to have a second attempt at the longer distance in the Hennessy.
Casey said: "He's in really great form at the moment. I think he's better than he ever was. He went to the Curragh for a bit of work yesterday (Tuesday) and it went very well, I'm delighted with him.
"Saturday week is going to tell us whether he stays three miles or not. We'll know a lot more about where we're going after that.
"I hope it's not sticky ground like it was in the Lexus. He can handle good ground and he can handle wet ground, but he doesn't like it when it's sticky. If the ground is like it was at Leopardstown last weekend, that will do me."
Casey has previously expressed doubts about how Flemenstar would take any potential journey across the Irish Sea, but he is not as concerned as he once was.
"Since Christmas I've been taking him down to the beach and he absolutely loves going down there. I don't think he'd have any trouble with travelling now," said the trainer.
Flemenstar holds Cheltenham entries in the two-mile Queen Mother Champion Chase, the two-mile-five-furlong Ryanair Chase and the extended three-and-a-quarter-mile Betfred Gold Cup.