Flemenstar sets standard for Russell
Davy Russell is hoping Sir Des Champs will find the improvement needed if he takes on Flemenstar again in the Lexus Chase.
The six-year-old met with his first defeat since joining Willie Mullins from France when he was beaten fair and square by Peter Casey's brilliant chaser in the John Durkan on Sunday, albeit over two and a half miles.
His seven-race winning streak included two successes at the Cheltenham Festival and he remains prominent in the ante-post betting for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
"The one day we were going to get beaten maybe it would have been over two and a half miles and I was happy with the way my horse performed. I was delighted with the way he jumped," said Russell.
"We're going to have to improve as the winner looks to be a bit special, so hopefully we will improve and if we do it will make for a great campaign for the Irish horses.
"We need to improve to Flemenstar's level now."