Countrywide Flame

Countrywide Flame - Champion Hurdle Contender 2014

Age: 5

Trainer: John Quinn

Jockey: Denis O'Regan

Countrywide Flame was a mediocre performer on the Flat, but he showed a real zest for jumping and more importantly the will to battle to the line.  Trainer John Quinn had progressed the diminutive battler as the 2011/2012 national hunt season progressed and handed him a tilt at the Triumph Hurdle.

With many star stables represented it was no surprise that he was sent off at 33/1, but his scintillating display of guts and determination showed that he was a true class juvenile as he beat the classy pair of Hisaabaat and Grumeti by three lengths to land the Friday opener and cement his place in equine history.

Defeat to Grumeti at Aintree saw Alan King's raider get his own back, but a return to the level and a second placed finish in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket saw him labelled as a potential contender for the 2013 Champion Hurdle and Quinn was certainly buying into the idea that he could be a potential winner of the Cheltenham Blue Riband event.

However, the masses joined in when he sprinted clear of Cinders And Ashes in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle and he was slashed in the 2013 Champion Hurdle Betting and was gradually coming on to the radar of the national hunt fans as a potential Champion.

Beaten by Darlan convincingly in the Christmas Hurdle, he was then unable to live with Rock On Ruby in the Listed 32Red Hurdle at Doncaster, so the five-year-old will hope that better ground at Chetlenham could see him in better light and if it turns into a fight up the Cheltenham hill then the 2013 Champion Hurdle could well see Countrywide Flame be on the vicinity in what is a wide open contest this season.

Countrywide Flame Form

Check out the Latest Odds for Countrywide Flame for the 2014 Champion Hurdle.