Quinn salutes retired Flame

John Quinn's top-class performer Countrywide Flame has been retired after being found to be suffering from a degenerative bone disease.

Winner of the Triumph Hurdle and the Fighting Fifth in 2012, the five-year-old went on to run a fantastic race to finish third behind Hurricane Fly in last season's Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Also runner-up in last year's Cesarewitch and fifth on his last run in the Chester Cup, Countrywide Flame was ruled out for the jumps season in October with a leg injury, but further deterioration has led to connections drawing stumps altogether.

Quinn said: "Unfortunately he's got bone degeneration in his two hind joints and while we can keep him comfortable, there's no coming back from that I'm afraid.

"The initial injury wasn't coming right as fast as we expected, so we looked into it and investigated it further and this came up, unfortunately. He's been a horse and a half."