Flame Could Tackle Fly

Sun 16th Dec 2012, 12:26

Countrywide Flame winning at Cheltenham
©Healy Racing Photos
Countrywide Flame could be given the stern test of taking on Hurricane Fly in the Istabraq Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown on December 29th.

Trainer John Quinn knows it would be difficult taking on Willie Mullins' 2011 Champion Hurdle hero on his home turf, but admits the pair have to clash at some stage.

He could run Countrywide Flame in the William Hill Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day instead but feels the course at Leopardstown would suit his horse better than Kempton.

Countrywide Flame, winner of the JCB Triumph Hurdle last term, showed he could be a serious contender for Champion honours at Cheltenham in March when winning the Fighting Fifth Hurdle in impressive fashion on his seasonal debut at Newcastle.

"He's in good fettle. He'll be entered in the Christmas Hurdle and he's in the Istabraq Hurdle. He'll run in one or the other," said Quinn.

"He likes galloping tracks so I suppose Leopardstown would be more his cup of tea than Kempton, but if we go to Ireland we have to take on Hurricane Fly. We have to take him on sometime."

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THE IRISH TIMES