Countrywide Flame - Cheltenham 16.03.2012

Countrywide Flame charging home to take Friday's Triumph Hurdle

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (  

Countrywide a 33-1 winner of Triumph

Report: Cheltenham Festival, Friday

JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m1f, 4yo

THE JCB Triumph Hurdle - the opening race on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival - produced a shock when 33-1 chance Countrywide Flame charged home under Dougie Costello.

Trained by John Quinn, the son of Haafhd bounded clear to beat the running-on Hisaabaat, a 20-1 chance.

Grumeti, sent off the 5-1 favourite, was third with Dodging Bullets fourth at 20-1.

Quinn, whose winner was given a quote of 50-1 by Paddy Power for next year's Champion Hurdle, said: "He has never run a bad race this year but I thought he had to find a bit to win. To be fair he is very tough and he stuck at it. He got buffeted about a bit but Dougie gave him a great ride."

Countrywide Flame, formerly trained by Kevin Ryan, had finished in the frame in two Grade 1 races, the last of which was at Leopardstown in February when he finished three lengths behind Hisaabaat.

He turned that form around, recording the same margin of victory.

Costello, recording his first festival triumph, added: "He is not very big but he is tough and he jumps. He is very quick, he got knocked about a bit going down to two out and I thought I'd just try and get a bit of room going to the last."

Of the other fancied runners Sadler's Risk was sixth with Baby Mix ninth. Pearl Swan and Balder Succes both fell.

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