14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Flemenstar wasn't himself - ownerHeadlines

Flemenstar's owner Stephen Curran is adamant his horse did not show his true colours in his defeat to Sir Des Champs at Leopardstown on Saturday.

Debate has raged about the best distance for the Peter Casey-trained chaser, who has looked so smart at up to two and a half miles, and connections were keen to give him another chance at three miles after his third-placed finish in the Lexus Chase over Christmas.

Flemenstar was held up by Andrew Lynch and was eventually beaten by a length and three-quarters in the Hennessy Gold Cup, but Curran wants to see if something was wrong with the gelding before important decisions are made.

He said: "He seems OK today, but I would say he underperformed. He wasn't himself. Andrew said he had to push him into the jumps, which he never has had to before.

"He didn't carry Andrew at all and we cannot put a finger on it, there was no life in him. He didn't sparkle. We'll have him tested over the next few days and maybe we will find he had got an infection, or there was something amiss."

Flemenstar has entries in all three of the feature chases at the Cheltenham Festival - the Gold Cup, the Ryanair and the Queen Mother Champion Chase - and Curran insists nothing is set in stone.

He added: "I'm not sure, we will just see how he is over the next few days.

"We are good losers and I don't want to take anything away from the winner. In all fairness, he's a very, very good horse and I'm pleased for the O'Learys (of Sir Des Champs' owners the Gigginstown House Stud)."

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