Sport : Horse Racing

Flame still "in the mix" for Champion

2nd January 2013, 12:18pm

Countrywide Flame: Still in the Champion picture

Countrywide Flame: Still in the Champion picture

Countrywide Flame remains on course for the Champion Hurdle despite meeting with defeat in Kempton's Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day.

The impressive Triumph and Fighting Fifth winner was one of several in the contest whose chances were compromised by the pedestrian early pace but trainer John Quinn plans to keep him busy between now and the Cheltenham Festival as he bids to get back on track.

"He's not going to stay in his box until March," said Quinn, who also attributes the five-year-old's performance at Kempton to the right-handed track.

"We've had plenty of time to think about it because it's a long drive from Kempton to Malton. I asked Denis O'Regan the following day if it would have made any difference if he had made it and he said not at all - he just wasn't the same horse going right-handed.

"The last thing I would do is make excuses but it was a learning curve because going the other way he is a different machine," he told the Racing Post Weekender.

"We know he loves Cheltenham and although it's a good year for the Champion, I'm sure he'll be in the mix if he is right on the day.

"Although we haven't really discussed options, before that I would be considering the Morebattle at Kelso or the Haydock Trial. I'll also put him in the Irish Champion Hurdle."


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Horse Racing Videos

    Alex Hammond's Tip of the Day

    Alex Hammond's Tip of the Day

    24-May-2015

    Sky Sports News takes you through all of the day's racing news, plus Alex Hammond's tip of the day.

    McCoy adjusting to retirement

    McCoy adjusting to retirement

    18-May-2015

    AP McCoy says he is starting to adjust to his new way of life after retiring from horse racing. McCoy says he's been enjoying eating what he wants, but still misses the discipline since quitting racing.

    McCoy - Nice to retire in one piece

    McCoy - Nice to retire in one piece

    16-May-2015

    Speaking on Soccer AM, racing legend AP McCoy talks about life after retirement including maintaining his weight and going through airport x-ray machines.

    McCoy emotional on final day

    McCoy emotional on final day

    25-April-2015

    An emotional AP McCoy shares his thoughts on his final day of racing as the 20-time Champion Jockey bought his career in the saddle to an end at Sandown.

    Sky Bet

    Facebook Favourites