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Flemenstar secured a first victory for two years with victory in the Grade 1 Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown.
Race leader Un De Sceaux fell two fences from the post, allowing 16-1 shot Flemenstar, ridden by Andrew Lynch and trained by Anthony Curran, to beat Simply Ned to the line.
The victory was 10-year-old Flemenstar’s first Grade 1 victory since the 2012 John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase.
“He was off for a year and did nothing but walking and trotting. It was a long road back and Danny Hand rides him out every day,” Curran said.
The Nicky Richards-trained Simply Ned seemed to be in charge going into the final fences, but Curran was confident Flemenstar had the staying power to take victory.
“I thought we might be held going to the last, but I saw the other horse getting tired and I knew our fella was as fit as he was for a long time,” he said.
After victory on heavy ground at a rain-saturated Leopardstown course, Curran expects Flemenstar’s next outing will be on soft ground.
“He could run next at Punchestown at the end of January, but he’s very ground dependent. It will have to be soft wherever he runs,” he concluded.
Long Dog led from the start to claim the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown.
The Willie Mullins-trained four-year-old secured his sixth straight victory and his second at Grade 1 level, beating Gordon Elliott’s Tombstone and another Mullins horse Petit Mouchoir to the line.
“He’s very brave and he clearly wants further – Ruby [Walsh] said he was flat out the whole way,” owner Rich Ricci said.
“The ground was a bit too heavy for him, but he won that very well. He’ll definitely go up in trip, but I’m not sure whether he’ll run between now and Cheltenham – he seems to take his races very well.
“I’d be happy to go straight to Cheltenham, but it’s Willie’s call. He’s a grinder.”
Mullins said: “His experience was a big help, and he’d no trouble staying or jumping. He could come back for the Deloitte, but he’s had a busy time so we’ll have to see.
“He’s learning all the time and the only reason we ran him in the summer was because he missed last season.”