Countrywide Flame: John Quinn's star hurdler is out of the jumps campaignPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Top hurdler Countrywide Flame out for season
DUAL Grade 1-winning hurdler Countrywide Flame, runner-up in last season's Cesarewitch Handicap, is out for the jumps campaign.
The winner of the 2012 Triumph Hurdle, who finished third to Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle last March, had been pencilled-in for Saturday's Cesarewitch, but his trainer John Quinn encountered problems keeping him sound.
"He kept going intermittently lame, so we got him bone-scanned and there was a shadow on a hind joint, which highlighted a stress fracture," said Quinn of last season's Fighting Fifth Hurdle winner.
"He's sound this morning, but that's because he's had a quiet three days."
The trainer, who handles the five-year-old for Estio Pinnacle Racing, added: "He's going to need three months off, but he's too good a horse to rush, so we'll give him six.
"It's disappointing for everyone concerned, but he's got time on his side.
"We'll bring him back next Flat season and try and win another Cesarewitch with him."