Better than sex?
Ian Ogg reviews Flemenstar's performance in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown.
By Ian Ogg. Last Updated: 09/12/12 8:54pm
Flemenstar: A chaser to savour
Peter Casey made the headlines on more than just the sports pages of the national newspapers 12 months ago after telling RTE presenter Tracy Piggott "I can't believe it. I can't believe it. I'll sleep tonight. I'll have f**kin' sex tonight and everything."
That youtube clip of Flemenstar's trainer, who celebrated his golden wedding anniversary last Easter, has had hundreds of thousands of hits and there could be a few more following his stable star's brilliant defeat of Sir Des Champs and Rubi Light in the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase.
The seven year old may just have had two opponents to beat but they were two rivals of high calibre and he absolutely trounced them.
Sir Des Champs was making his seasonal reappearance, ceding racefitness to his rival and Willie Mullins believes that he'll come on for the run; that may well be the case but he's got some work to do in order to reverse the form.
Sir Des Champs is already a winner over three miles but he faced little in the way of opposition in the Growise Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown last April and it would be folly to take that as evidence that the six year old will be better suited by the longer trip.
This was arguably his stiffest test to date and, although he lost this battle, there were positives to be taken from the run and he'll undoubtedly be back to fight another day.
But what of the winner?
His fencing has been brilliant from the word go and he's versatile and willing but it's his cruising speed and ability to quicken that really takes the eye.
He had his market rival in trouble from a long way out and readily left him behind when Andrew Lynch asked him to pick up and put the race to bed.
He had the speed to successfully drop back to two miles on his seasonal reappearance where he readily beat Big Zeb and Realt Dubh, the winners of nine Grade One contests between them, despite only being "80%" fit.
Even allowing for the fact that neither runner may have been at their best that day and that Rubi Light was well below par on Sunday and Sir Des Champs being in need of a run; it's the manner of his victories that's so prepossessing.
His raw speed, coupled with his turn of foot will lead some to doubt his ability to stay three miles, a distance he has only tackled between the flags in his formative days.
The fifth foal of an unraced mare who can count Carvill's Hill and Alcapone among her relations, his most successful sibling is full brother Barafundle who stays all day long.
Their sire, Flemensfirth, can number the likes of Imperial Commander, Tidal Bay, Pandorama and Time For Rupert among his progeny yet this fellow has the ability to trump them all.
It's perfectly conceivable that Flemenstar could actually improve for the step up in trip rather than suffer for the stiffer test of stamina and what a prospect that is.
The extra two and a half furlongs of the Cheltenham Gold Cup will ask a further question of him and the gruelling closing stages of that Blue Riband event have left many a dream gasping in vain for air on that lung-bursting final climb.
For now, the dream is very much still alive and what a dream it is for those closest to Flemenstar and those watching on from afar.
Frankel has kept us warm throughout the summer, Bobs Worth thrilled in the Hennessy, Sprinter Sacre sent a shiver down our spines when scorching the Sandown turf in the Tingle Creek and now this - truly we are blessed.