Good day for bookmakers as Flemenstar enjoys romantic return to Leopardstown

Bumper 17,431 crowd enjoys day two of Christmas festival meeting

Friends James Smith, Greg Kelly, Owen Coyle, Andrew Smitchell, James Kelly, Issac Coyle and Eamon Laverty, all from Stewartstown, Co Tyrone, at the Leopardstown Christmas festival. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Friends James Smith, Greg Kelly, Owen Coyle, Andrew Smitchell, James Kelly, Issac Coyle and Eamon Laverty, all from Stewartstown, Co Tyrone, at the Leopardstown Christmas festival. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

of the Christmas festival at Leopardstown when the old hero Flemenstar managed to turn back the clock with a famous success.

Without a win for more than two years, the injury-plagued 16-1 outsider took advantage of a dramatic fall by hot favourite Un De Sceaux to win the €100,000 Grade 1 Paddy Power Chase.

It helped a good day for bookmakers who handled €1,117,441, while Tote betting of €770,259 was up dramatically on last year’s corresponding figure of €434,440.

It was an unexpected hark back to Flemenstar’s glory days of 2012 when both he and his former trainer Peter Casey were catapulted on to the national stage by a series of notable victories accompanied by Casey’s colourful post-race interviews.

Big-hitters

Anthony CurranStephen Curran

Champion owner JP McManus enjoyed a hat-trick of triumphs, including the big handicap winner Minella Foru, on a day sponsored by Paddy Power bookmakers, who flexed their corporate muscle in front of a bumper 17,431 attendance.

The bookmaking giant expects a reported €7 billion merger with Betfair to be completed early in the new year, and there was a touch of the boardroom too in how Long Dog, owned by flamboyant US businessman Rich Ricci, landed the day’s other Grade 1 pot for the all-powerful champion trainer Willie Mullins.

Frustration

Curran outlined Flemenstar’s long recovery from leg problems to record an unlikely but hugely popular success.

“We took him home and looked after him and he’s paid us back today. Someone had to take Un De Sceaux on. If you don’t take these horses on, you’ll never beat them.”

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