Peter Casey remains confident Flemenstar can develop into a serious Cheltenham Gold Cup candidate despite a scintillating victory over the minimum trip on his seasonal reappearance at Navan.
Making his first start since winning the Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse at the end of a brilliant novice campaign, the seven-year-old turned in an exhibition round of jumping to deny top two-miler Big Zeb a fourth successive win in the Fortria Chase.
Flemenstar has yet to be tested beyond two and a half miles and given his raw speed, it is hardly surprising some believe he could make his presence felt in either the Queen Mother Champion Chase or the Ryanair Chase at the Festival in March. Casey, however, only has eyes for the extended three-and-a-quarter-mile blue riband.
The trainer said: "Everything is grand this morning and we're very happy with him.
"He couldn't have done any more than he did yesterday. I see some people are still doubting him and whether he'll get three miles, but I don't think he'll have any trouble with the trip. He's a lovely, big horse and he idles a bit in front."
Casey confirmed he would step back up to two and a half miles for the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase on December 9, before testing the water over three miles in Leopardstown's Lexus Chase over Christmas.
"Anything can happen, obviously, but the plan is to go to Punchestown next and then on to Leopardstown for the Lexus," said the trainer.
"People are talking about the Champion Chase and the Ryanair and I suppose we could look that way if for some reason he doesn't get three miles at Christmas, but that is not the plan at the moment. I'm confident he'll get the trip."
Andrew Lynch has been ever-present in the saddle during Flemenstar's career over fences and he too is hopeful the hugely-promising gelding will stay at least three miles.
Lynch said: "He was very good for his first run. We knew going into the race that whatever he did he would improve, so hopefully that is the case. He jumped well and travelled well and did it easily. You'd like to think he'll get three miles. He certainly gives you that impression when you ride him and he has won a point-to-point. Whether he'd get three and a quarter miles up that Cheltenham hill is a different matter. Only time will tell."
30 October 2014Aktabantay out of Breeders' Cup
Tearless secures Good Friday ticket
Overnight stay for Johnson
Crawford banks on Izzini progress
Toast could make Spencer think
Tearless takes Lingfield honours
Road charts route to Royal riches
Johnson taken to hospital
Grece excels at Saint-Cloud
Hawk given Greatwood option
Royal summons for Apache
Hannon: Early speed key for Osaila
Bowe takes aim at WKD bullseye
Hootenanny 'smoking' for BC mission
Avenue roads lead to Newmarket
Shu to be kept busy
Scu sweet on Sensation Ascot raid
Murtagh succumbs to Cup charms
Dandino to stay in Australia
Glance denied Mackinnon defence
Bailey ace rules Supreme at Taunton
O'Brien hit by Magician blow
Diablo in big-race picture
Buckley raises Toast to Osborne
Pastille seeking four-timer
Conti all set for Charlie Hall
Barnes out to storm Saint-Cloud
Williams issues Buywise warning
Lynam reveals Slade stalls fears
29 October 2014Lame Magician out of Breeders' Cup
Diablo in big-race picture
Mullins enters strong Hennessy team
Damaged hock behind Estid reverse
Eckhart team rocked by injury blow
Hunt Ball makes Power play
Morgiana a T bone of contention
Kirby ponders Buttons French raid
Glance camp turn to Williams
Wohler trusts 'professional' Moore
Red alert to Cup challenge
Head targets more Mile glory
Mile hope Toronado in 'great form'
Telescope camp banking on Moore
Twiston-Davies link excites Moore
Flying third to Bob on hurdling bow
Harden to test top staying waters
Godolphin take share in Belardo
Mullins has big guns at Down Royal
Annacotty set for Kempton return
Powell and Bradley cleared
28 October 2014Fingal camp on weather watch
More injury woe for Popham
Dickin unveils Thomas gameplan
Power stalls in Flemington spin
Toast drawn nine in BC Classic
My Ambivalent passed fit by vets
Harry out to bring House down
Three and easy for ton-up Hanagan
Wood carves out Galway verdict
More Of That in Wetherby frame
Big guns confirmed for Charlie Hall
Byron pencilled in for Far East
Newbury reverts to original title
Magician to stay in the US
Henderson considers hurdles for Bob
27 October 2014Mountainous back on National trail
Ground to dictate Gold run
Elite aim for Rendezvous
Classic dreams at Leopardstown
Smullen celebrates seventh title
Cheltenham target for Module
Pete shows his Aintree mettle
Royal-Oak double for Boistron
Starchitect in surprise strike
New One given Haydock mission
Balding excited by Park prospects
Sights set high for Crafty