Flemenstar is set to have the Queen Mother Champion Chase as his Cheltenham Festival target following his reverse in the Lexus Chase.
After putting previously unbeaten chaser Sir Des Champs to the sword with a brilliant display in the two-and-a-half-mile John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase, Flemenstar was a hot favourite for the feature event of Leopardstown's Christmas meeting, but still had to prove his stamina over three miles.
Having travelled and jumped with panache under Andrew Lynch, the seven-year-old appeared a weary horse after jumping the last and although he stuck to his task well enough to finish third, beaten just three-quarters of a length by Tidal Bay, trainer Peter Casey feels his stamina limitations were exposed.
Casey does not feel it would be right to test his charge over an extended three and a quarter miles at Cheltenham in March and with the two-mile-five-furlong Ryanair Chase seemingly of no appeal, he is set to tackle the formidable Sprinter Sacre over the minimum trip instead.
Asked about whether the Gold Cup was still being considered, Casey said: "We'll have to rule that out. He won't get that extra two furlongs. You'd think he was going to win coming to the last fence, he was cruising. He just found nothing after the last 100 yards.
"The Queen Mother, that will be it. The two-mile Champion Chase. That will be the one we'd go for."
Casey is confident that Flemenstar is capable of shaking up the current Champion Chase favourite Sprinter Sacre.
"Our lad is a great jumper and has plenty of speed. He jumped well (on Friday) but every time he landed he was wanting to get going," said the trainer.
"In Cheltenham, if we went for the Queen Mother, he'd have to go there, Andrew would be letting him stride on and we'd give that other lad (Sprinter Sacre) something to think about then! That's what we're going to try and do anyway."
Casey will consult Flemenstar's owner before deciding on a next port of call, but is leaning away from another crack at three miles in the Hennessy Gold Cup back at Leopardstown in February.
22 May 2015Gleneagles tees off at Curragh
Stars dazzles at Goodwood
Dettori receives golden ticket
Paris in Sandown shake-up
Tudhope suffers Haydock blow
Gatsby in great form for Gold run
O'Brien banking on Found progress
Ivawood targets Guineas revenge
Sole seeking home success
Brooch aiming to sparkle again
Dods hoping Angel can soar
Remote makes Festival return
Force back for Temple test
Cumani hangs fire as Dubai dazzles
Dods hoping for Angel delight
Epicuris team seek dispensation
Treve buzzing for Corrida comeback
No going concerns for Gatsby
Gleneagles spearheads Guineas field
Power to stay in Ireland
Muthmir earmarked for Haydock date
21 May 2015Ground concerns for Pretend
Ball back on duty at Worcester
Ground key to Boy Gold run
Fitz up against it for Galway
Hobbs to race in Godolphin blue
Haggas has plenty to Wonder about
Straight to Ascot for Rizeena
Curragh all set for big weekend
Byron in Greenlands hunt
Sandown or Epsom options for Spring
O'Brien looks to Tapestry
Europe the 'horse of a lifetime'
Legatissimo in Oaks reckoning
20 May 2015Top fillies given Irish Derby entry
Girl could spark Ascot dreams
Coolmore acquire Pharoah rights
Cirrus leads Longchamp septet
Time called on Europe career
Doyle set for Kazeem Gold run
RMG and ARC announce joint venture
Lyons planning dual Guineas raid
Albany aim for Spanish
Maarek team wait on ground
Birdcage takes flight at Dundalk
Gatsby tops Tattersalls entry
Great expectations in Needler
Karakontie likely to bypass Ascot
Devonshire added to Guineas field
Arod in Ascot frame
Elm team have high hopes
Varian retains Belardo faith
Ground to decide Power aim
19 May 2015Fanning targets swift return
Medrano camp turn to Hughes
Cossack named jumps champion
Toormore team get thinking caps on
Bear back on the move
Wind fired up for Temple test
Ballynagour makes French connection
Walker retains faith in Moon
Mimic in hat for Yeardley surge
Manhattan on menu for Protector
Pandora to swerve Oaks
Hannon duo primed for Guineas
Fabre rules out Lion Derby date
Weld respects Horn claims