Flemenstar set for big Easter meet at Fairyhouse
FLEMENSTAR will go to Fairyhouse at Easter for the Powers Gold Cup after further enhancing his ever-growing reputation with an impeccable round of jumping in the Naas Directors Plate Novice Chase.
Peter Casey's exciting seven-year-old totally outjumped his old rival Bog Warrior, who had beaten him on his chasing debut at Navan in November, to take his winning run to four.
Flemenstar has made giant strides since then, winning the Arkle Chase at Leopardstown, and continued on an upward curve in the best possible manner.
He may only have had two rivals after the late defection of Rathlin, but Flemenstar stole the show with a superb display in the hands of Andrew Lynch.
Bog Warrior took the trio along but Flemenstar jumped his way into the lead before six out and took lengths out of Tony Martin's charge at every obstacle.
So much so that Bog Warrior was a spent force before the final fence and trailed home a distant last of three.
Frisco Depot tried to make a race of it but he was five and a half lengths behind the 10-11 joint-favourite without seriously challenging the imperious winner.
Casey said: "I was delighted with him and he didn't like the ground today - it was a bit sticky.
"That's it now until Easter. He's improved a lot since he ran the first time against Bog Warrior.
"He took it up a bit early, but the way he was pulling Andrew let him go on. He jumped great.
"Hopefully we'll be away to Cheltenham next year."
Davy Russell reported Bog Warrior ran "flat", while the vet found the gelding to be blowing hard post-race.
Paddy Pub (10-1) followed up a hurdles win over the course and distance with a game success in the Woodlands Park 100 Club Leinster National Handicap Chase.
Paddy Mangan sent the Kieren Purcell-trained nine-year-old into the lead a long way out and never looked like stopping, despite being 5lb wrong in the handicap.
He was pressed by Arabella Boy, who was always prominent, but kept on stoutly to win by a length and three-quarters with Rare Bob plugging on for third.
Mangan said: "He was a completely different horse for me today than the last time I rode him and the trainer had him spot on.
"He just beat me her when I was riding Castle Wings for my dad. He did me on the line.
"I was glad he put me up today and it was special."
Lord Windermere got back in the winning groove in the www.naasracecourse.com Novice Hurdle after falling short in Grade One company.
Fourth in the Deloitte at Leopardstown after two wins in a lesser grade, Jim Culloty's six-year-old galloped on resolutely for Tom Doyle to score by three lengths from fellow 5-2 joint-favourite Ballynacree.
Culloty said: "He's a chaser through and through. It's just a case of keeping him in one piece until he goes novice chasing in the autumn.
"He's going on to Fairyhouse in a month's time for a Grade Two over two and half miles, then he's going out in the fields."
Up For The Match, owned by J P McManus, showed he was one step ahead of the assessor when defying a 16lb hike in the ratings to take the Naas Supporters Handicap Hurdle in his stride.
Upped after getting off the mark at Gowran three weeks ago, the John Kiely-trained 4-1 favourite, ridden by Alan Crowe, landed a comfortable success by four and a quarter lengths over Shamiran in a field of 24.
Declan Bates made the most of a spare ride to steer Great Value (25-1) to a surprise victory in the Follow Naas On Facebook Beginners Chase.
The 5lb claimer, replacing the injured Roger Loughran, produced the Dessie Hughes-trained seven-year-old late to collar Spanish Auriga after the last and win by four lengths.
The top team of Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh got on the scoresheet with even-money favourite A Fine Young Man in the Sunday Market At Naas Racecourse Maiden Hurdle.