This weekend we will see the highly exciting Flemenstar take to the track in the Irish Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown with the fate of his season on the line. Very few would argue that Flemenstar is one of the most exciting chasers to have come out in Ireland in recent years but his ideal trip remains something of a mystery. We have seen the Peter Casey trained eight year old win at both two miles and two miles four furlongs but connections have been convinced for some time now that three miles is well within his compass too.
That wasn't the case last time out though when he appeared to curl up after the last in the Lexus Chase when travelling like the best horse for almost the entire race. That day, Flemenstar faded into a close third on his first try over three miles, leaving many to suggest that the Gold Cup was now out of the question, or is it? Peter Casey is eager to try the horse over three miles once again and that will come on Saturday when he takes on Sir Des Champs in the Irish Hennessy with both horses running for the last time before the Festival next month.
Flemenstar is likely to start the Irish Hennessy Gold Cup as the favourite as punters give the horse one more chance over the extended trip. A good run and a win on Saturday could well put those stamina doubts to bed ahead of a tilt at the Gold Cup next month up against the likes of Bobs Worth and Long Run. However a repeat of his run in the Lexus when he he looked tired will surely rule out the Gold Cup with the Ryanair Chase perhaps the most likely target for the horse at this stage. Some experts have even suggested that the horse is so fast over fences that a run in the Queen Mother Champion Chase cannot be ruled out of the question this season.
That of course would set up a mouth-watering showdown with Sprinter Sacre in what would be one the most anticipated Cheltenham clashes in recent memory. Punters backing the horse at the moment though are advised to do is in a Non Runner No Bet capacity with all three races still very much under consideration. We will learn plenty more this weekend with the Irish Hennessy taking place over three miles and at this stage it would appear that the decision will be left pretty late with the Festival now just over a month away.
Betting on which race Flemenstar will run in at the Cheltenham Festival