Flemenstar scratched from Cheltenham
Racing:Flemenstar will not run at the Cheltenham Festival after today being scratched from all three races in which he was engaged.
Trainer Peter Casey announced that the eight-year-old had picked up a lung infection after he finished second to Sir Des Champs in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown over the weekend, and today he withdrew entries for his star turn in the Gold Cup, Queen Mother Chase and the Ryanair Chase.
Sir Des Champs is one of 24 horses left in for the Gold Cup as Willie Mullins goes in search of a first win in race, while the trainer also has Prince De Beauchene is still in.
First Lieutenant and China Rock are Mouse Morris’s options, while Jessies Dream and Bog Warrior are two other Irish horses n the mix.
Nicky Henderson has Bobs Worth and 2011 winner Long Run, while Finian’s Rainbow remains in the mix.
Another former winner, Imperial Commander, is also heading back with the aim of emulating Kauto Star by winning the most prestigious race in the game for a second time after losing the title.
Paul Nicholls enjoyed great dominance with Kauto Star and Denman but without those two his hopes rely on Silviniaco Conti and What A Friend. As expected, Tidal Bay has been taken out.
Just eight possible opponents remain in contention to challenge Sprinter Sacre in the Queen Mother.
Henderson’s Sprinter Sacre is set to go off the hottest favourite of the whole week after looking invincible over fences.
Sprinter Sacre’s stablemate Finian’s Rainbow, last year’s winner, now looks his most significant possible challenger along with Sizing Europe, who was second 12 months ago but took the event in 2011.
Cue Card, Sanctuaire, Realt Dubh, Somersby, Tataniano and Wishfull Thinking are the only other horses left in the race on March 13th.
Former winners Albertas Run and Riverside Theatre are among 27 remaining entries for the Ryanair Chase on March 14th.
Along with Riverside Theatre, Henderson could call upon last year’s Champion Chase hero Finian’s Rainbow, who holds an entry here too.
Sir Des Champs still has this option, as does First Lieutenant and Sizing Europe, while Rubi Light and Prince De Beauchene are other strong Irish hopes.