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."
25 October 2014Steip shock as Ship sinks
Blaklion sounds War cry
Trophy proves a stroll in Park
Roan reward at last for Wishfull
Muir full of praise for Code
Hawk swoops for Aintree prize
Smaih shines for Hannon
McCoy delighted with World hero
PJA and BHA issue fraud warning
'Enigma' Seanie ready for Knockaire
Prendergast duo set Eyrefield poser
Tac takes aim at Royal-Oak double
Snoano stepping up for Trophy bid
Adelaide rules in Cox Plate
Sir Max clinches Mercury gold
Full marks for Bangor schooling
Milky Way on another planet
O'Brien targets another Trophy
Hurricane in hat for Morgiana
Buick happy as a Star is born
King ace back in the Old routine
McCoy makes Chepstow return
Botti seeking Astrelle celebration
24 October 2014Ballyalton out for the season
Hutchinson sits out weekend action
Balding sweet on Park chance
Walker hoping for Glorious victory
Times out to make Newbury headlines
Cheltenham honour leading figures
Moore keen on Adelaide chance
Stevens back for Breeders'
Johnson Houghton fined
Duke lords it at Carlisle
Southwell first for O'Brien
Fenton fined over steroids
Buywise on the money at Ludlow
Lockinge the big plan for Toormore
Stone ruled out of Old Roan
Wetherby likely for First run
Elm tops Trophy octet
23 October 2014Fenton guilty of drugs possession
Williams hoping for Max power
Harty biding his time with Lane
Clonmel aim for Baily
Jezki possible for Morgiana bow
Harrington expects Naylor to shine
Gosden a Fan of Newmarket scorer
Northern aces face off in Cumbria
Murphy plagued by shoulder injury
Dynaste charts direct Haydock route
O'Brien outlines Breeders' plans
Wetherby-bound Taquin to duck Power
High hopes for Adelaide run
Gilgamboa waits on ground
Dandino misses Cup date
22 October 2014December date for Balding memorial
Deputy outgunned at Fontwell
Whisky chasing Power spoils
Burke maps out Odeliz targets
Present sights set on Power prize
New category for all-weather champs
Moviesta has sales date
National aim for O'Neill star
Cheltenham on Ginge agenda
Lewis eyeing Dubai success
Henderson handed Ascot role
Panther given Breeders' go-ahead
Plain sailing for perfect Storm
Big Easy sets sail for Open fixture
Hall monitored for Giant Bolster
Stomachion in November frame
Hughes revels in 'sweet' success
BHA moves to address small fields
Connell turns to Heskin
Integral to race on next year