Countrywide Flame Cruises to Victory in Fighting Fifth Hurdle
Countrywide Flame produced a clinical jumping performance to easily win the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on Saturday.
The four-year-old jumped perfectly and easily ran away from the rest of the field when asked for an extra effort to score by twelve lengths from well backed favourite Cinders and Ashes.
Trainer John Quinn said that he was extremely pleased with the son of Haafhd’s effort.
“He improved a stone on the Flat this year and had to improve a stone to be a Champion Hurdle horse,” Quinn said.
“Looking at that you’d say he has improved and he’s still only four.
“They were good horses he beat and he did it well.
“I’ll put him in the Christmas Hurdle, but the Istabraq Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown on December 29 looks the way we’ll go. He’s a versatile horse – he’s gone on every ground and looked good on every ground.”
Jockey Denis O’Regan does not normally ride Countrywide Flame and despite rating the gelding an excellent chance to win the Champion Hurdle maintains that the ride belongs to Dougie Costello.
“It’s great to ride him. I haven’t had a Grade One winner for quite a while,” O’Regan said.
‘He was very impressive today and he’s a serious horse and he wouldn’t be without a chance in the Champion Hurdle.
‘Dougie told me how to ride him and he’s such a lovely horse. I’m so pleased I was on him today, but he’s Dougie’s ride.
Countrywide Flame has been well backed in the Champion Hurdle betting market and is now on the fourth line of betting behind Hurricane Fly (5/1), Zarkandar (8/1) and Rock on Ruby (8/1).
You can get all the best odds for the Champion Hurdle and all the major races throughout the jumps racing season at Bet365.