Flemenstar on mark as Martin secures treble
FLEMENSTAR may not have been overly impressive in landing the Fortria Chase, but that didn't bother his new trainer Tony Martin who enjoyed a sparkling 82/1 treble at Navan.
The Meath handler dominated proceedings at his local track with Flemenstar's second successive victory in the Boylesports-sponsored feature proving the highlight.
Having his first start for Martin since leaving Peter Casey, Flemenstar was sent off the 1/4 favourite against just three rivals.
The market leader – which underwent a breathing operation after trailing home behind Sprinter Sacre at Aintree last April – had a few questions to answer on his return and his jumping did not please everybody as the eight-year-old gave his fences far too much air.
Having seen off Realt Mor early in the straight, he had to be shaken up by Andrew Lynch to hold off the rallying Days Hotel by a length and a quarter.
"He was a bit extravagant – his jumping was a bit big," Martin remarked. "He let fly at a few down the back but I'm hoping that was freshness.
"We'll take our time with him. I'll have a chat with Andy (Lynch) and Steve (Curran, owner). He's entered in everything but I'll give it two or three weeks to decide where next."
Martin also won the Grade 2 Boylesports.com Download Our App Lismullen Hurdle with another seasonal debutant Dedigout.
Davy Russell, who was originally supposed to be on the non-runner Rule The World, sat some way off a decent pace and was only fourth turning into the straight.
Mala Beach hit the front at the second last but Dedigout (9/2) swept past him to win going away by a length and three-quarters. The winner holds an entry in the Hennessy Gold Cup and was cut to 14/1 from 20s for the Newbury event by BetVictor.
Martin said: "That's his ground. He leaped brilliant. He won well last year in his first race then lost his confidence."
Robbie Colgan was on Mala Beach but then teamed up with Martin to capture the St Johann Ski Resort Tirol Austria Handicap Hurdle on Spacious Sky (10/1) which stayed on strongly from the final flight.
Trainer Eddie Harty will have been disappointed that Captain Cee Bee failed to add to his tally in the Lismullen, but in Minella Foru, he appears to have a ready-made replacement after the 11/8 shot took the 'For Auction' Novice Hurdle under Tony McCoy.
It was billed as a match with Noel Meade's Very Wood, and Russell attempted to make all of the running on that one, albeit at a pedestrian pace, which did not help his jumping as he consistently went out to his right.
Eventually, the pace quickened three from home and Minella Foru had far too much speed, winning by a length and a half under a confident McCoy.
McCoy, who secured 4,000 victories over jumps at Towcester on Thursday, was given a rousing reception in the Navan winner's enclosure.
"It's all a bit embarrassing," he said. "I'm trying to get on with my job and I'm trying to ride another 998 winners and then I can have another day!
"He's a smart horse but it was a messy race and turned into a sprint, the second is a smart horse too and it won't have suited him either."
Ken Condon and Eddie O'Connell combined to land the opening three-year-old hurdle with Gerdago which is likely to head to Fairyhouse next after the 3/1 shot galloped 13 lengths clear of Moss Street.
O'Connell later benefited from the final-fence fall of Some Tikket in the beginners' chase which he captured on Tom Cooper's The Shepherd King (16/1). Ironically, Cooper's son, Bryan, was on Some Tikket.
The finale went the way of another outsider as Pint Of Porter belied his 33/1 price tag for Philip Rothwell and Shane Crimin.