COUNTRYWIDE FLAME, one of the sport’s top dual-purpose performers, has run his last race after succumbing to a degenerative bone condition that will require him to be monitored over the coming months.
Trained in Malton by John Quinn, the five-year-old was a seven-time winner on the Flat and finished second in last year’s Cesarewitch, but it was as a jumper that he enjoyed his finest hours, winning the 2012 Triumph Hurdle in the same year he went on to post a 12- length victory in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle.
Quinn, whose star won ten races and earned £270,522, said: “He has a bone degeneration on his two hind joints. We can keep him comfortable but he’ll not be able to race again.
“There’s no way back from it, which is a real pity. He was a proper Grade 1 horse, you couldn’t knock him.”
Although Countrywide Flame will be very hard to replace Quinn has another talented young horse on his hands with Rutherglen, who is now two out of two over hurdles after winning at Bangor last Sunday.
Snapped up out of George Baker’s yard for 40,000 guineas having shown a decent level of ability on the Flat, Rutherglen won comfortably when odds-on for his hurdling debut at Wetherby.
After a couple of busy days on the racing front, the bandwagon rolls on to Catterick this afternoon, the third day of the Go Racing In Yorkshire Winter Festival.
The final day of the Festival ends tomorrow with a really good card at Doncaster tomorrow, weather has been kind over the festive period, this making a massive difference.
At the minute the action at Catterick is due underway at 12.55pm. Donald McCain, whose horses are in tremendous form, looks like the trainer to follow with several interesting runners on the card, non more so than Cloudy Joker in the two miles novices’ Chase.
The grey is now two from two over fences, after wins at Musselburgh and Ludlow, giving the impression there is more to come from him.
Sunday’s seven race card at Doncaster is due underway earlier at 12.10pm. Again competitive racing is guaranteed with 177 entries.
The three-mile hurdle at 1.55pm looks a cracker and Tom George’s Sivols de Sivola will be of interest in taking up this engagement.