Star and Sir set to clash
A compelling clash between two of Ireland's most exciting jumpers is on the cards at Punchestown on Sunday with Flemenstar and Sir Des Champs among the entries for the John Durkan Memorial Chase.
The former has attracted a huge following, not just for his fine performances in the likes of the Irish Arkle and the Powers Gold Cup, but for his veteran trainer Peter Casey.
Flemenstar made a sparkling reappearance in the Fortria Chase at Navan last month, beating Big Zeb by seven lengths.
The County Meath handler's son and assistant Francis said: "Flemenstar is in good order. By the looks of things the ground will be heavy on Sunday, but he has won on heavy before.
"We couldn't have been happier with him at Navan so it's all systems go for Sunday as the Durkan Chase has always been the plan."
Sir Des Champs, unbeaten in five starts including the Jewson at Cheltenham, is a great hope for the in-form Willie Mullins, who has also engaged Blazing Tempo and Blackstairmountain among the nine-strong field.
Andrew Lynch will be riding Flemenstar, leaving Barry Geraghty to take over on last year's winner Rubi Light, who has not been seen since taking fourth in the Punchestown Gold Cup in April.
Trainer Robbie Hennessy said: "Rubi Light appears to be in great form. We schooled him last week and couldn't have been happier.
"This will be his first run of the season, but from what he has shown us, he is ready. Barry Geraghty will take the ride."