Countrywide Flame: winning the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham FestivalPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Countrywide Flame trimmed for Cesarewitch
LEADING Betfred Cesarewitch contender Countrywide Flame on Thursday hardened in the betting for Saturday's marathon handicap and is now outright favourite.
John Quinn's Triumph Hurdle winner was vying for favouritism with Hurricane Higgins and Olympiad for the 2m2f contest, but is now clear market leader.
Coral clipped him to 8-1 (from 9), while Betfred, who are also 8-1, described the four-year-old as the race's best-backed horse.
Countrywide Flame was among 34 runners declared for the Cesarewitch on Thursday morning and he will break from stall seven. Olympiad is in 33 and Hurricane Higgins in 19.
The ground at Newmarket was described as good to soft, good in places. Rain forecast on Thursday night, while Saturday's outlook is for sunny spells with light showers.
Director of racing at Newmarket Racecourses, said: "At 4pm today, we've had no measurable rainfall and the official going description is good to soft, good in places.
"We are forecast rain for this evening, but it should have passed through by midnight.
"Friday promises to be largely dry and breezy with sunny spells. Saturday is predicted to have sunny spells with the chance of a light shower in the afternoon."