Flame heads to Newcastle
Countrywide Flame is set to make his seasonal reappearance by defending his crown in the stanjames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle.
After being narrowly denied in a thrilling Cesarewitch at Newmarket 12 months ago, John Quinn's admirable dual-purpose runner made a scintillating return to jumping action in the feature event of Newcastle's National Hunt season.
He went on to finish an excellent third behind Hurricane Fly and Rock On Ruby in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and was last seen finishing fifth back on the Flat in the Chester Cup.
Having been forced to miss another tilt at this weekend's two-and-a-quarter-mile event, Countrywide Flame will now head straight to Gosforth Park on November 30.
"We were going to run in the Cesarewitch but he got a knock unfortunately. There's always next year," said Quinn.
"It wasn't anything serious, it was just a knock, so we'll look towards the Fighting Fifth for him."
There has been talk in some quarters that Countrywide Flame could step up in trip for a potential tilt at the World Hurdle over three miles, but Quinn is keen to stay at the minimum distance for the foreseeable future.
"We'll be sticking at two miles for now anyway. He was third in a Champion Hurdle and it was a good Champion Hurdle, so I don't see any point in changing things too much with him," said the trainer.