Trainer Donald McCain is keeping his fingers crossed Newcastle are fit to race as he prepares to unleash Cinders And Ashes in the StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle on Saturday.
McCain has had the two-mile Grade One in his sights as a starting point for his Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner for some time and while he would have preferred better ground, the Cholmondeley handler is eager to get his charge back in action.
"He's ready for the run, but obviously we're just hoping the meeting passes the inspection," he said.
"The ground is not ideal for him but he's ready for the run and he will come on a touch for it. Some of the others have had a run and he obviously won't be 110% for his first run of the year but he had a good gallop last week and we're pleased with him."
Countrywide Flame is officially the highest-rated horse in the field and enjoyed an excellent prep run when only beaten half a length by Aaim To Prosper in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket last month.
He said: "We were very happy with his Newmarket run. He's in good form, but we could have done without all the rain we've had. He's a very good horse - he doesn't know how to run a bad race. He's run on heavy at Chepstow and softer ground at Leopardstown so hopefully he will handle it."
Trifolium finished third behind Cinders And Ashes at Cheltenham before going on to claim second in another Grade One at Punchestown.
The five-year-old disappointed when only second on his return at that track but trainer Charles Byrnes expects an improved effort this time, although the easy ground will be far from ideal.
"He was very distressed after the race in Punchestown and hopefully the minor wind operation he's had since will have made a bit of a difference to him," he said.
"He seems in good form at home. Heavy ground is not ideal for him, but he has won in it before. Hopefully he'll be all right. We don't have much to find on Cheltenham form."
16 January 2017Un De Sceaux team pinpoint Ascot nous as key strength in Clarence House Chase
Bastien blazes a trail to pocket Plumpton prize for Alan King
Fit-again Noel Fehily back in action at Exeter
Godolphin dominate fast-track qualifier as Antiquarium roars at Wolverhampton
Jan Faltejsek ends British drought as Fairlee Grey strikes at Ayr
Tributes paid after death of Fakenham maestro Cool Roxy
Harry Fry guarded against Cleeve complacency for Unowhatimeanharry
Colin Tizzard set to unleash Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Alary at Haydock
Harry Fry plans to chart direct Cheltenham Festival route with American
No plans for Dougie Gittens to appeal against Kelso ban
Un De Sceaux spearheads Clarence House octet at Ascot
Vezelay on course for Cheltenham Trial
Dunphy and Logan banned for two years following Like A Diamond case
Gordon Elliott looking to Irish Gold Cup with Empire Of Dirt
Willie Mullins hoping Faugheen will make Irish Champion return
Connections mulling Arkle outing for Identity Thief at Leopardstown
Gary Moore lining up Banks raid with Benatar
Amateur rider Dougie Gittins hit with 10-day ban at Kelso
Ballyoisin makes amends for recent fall
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has his say on Kempton closure plans
Jack Kennedy shines as Ball D'Arc keeps up title momentum for Gordon Elliott
Barra banks maiden win at Fairyhouse
Grand National contender One For Arthur excites Peter Scudamore
Jonjo O'Neill on Leopardstown Gold trail with Minella Rocco
Neil Mulholland considers Cleeve Hurdle for Grand National hope The Young Master
Seamus Mullins could go Flat out with Fergall
15 January 2017My Manekineko set to take Leopardstown plunge
Ball D'Arc proves too good in Dan Moore Memorial at Fairyhouse
John Francome criticises Jockey Club proposals to close Kempton
'Sore' Noel Fehily ruled out of Fairyhouse action
Kelso receives go-ahead
Noel Fehily 'sore' but clear of injury after Warwick spill
One For Arthur powers to Classic Chase glory at Warwick
Willoughby Court impresses for Grade Two honours at Warwick
Tobefair continues winning spree at Warwick
Modus makes no mistake in Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton
American stars in Hampton Novices' Chase at Warwick
Any Second Now floors hotpot Crack Mome at Punchestown
Frost and snow puts paid to Fakenham Sunday card
Fine Rightly looking to show his class at Kelso
Murphy sets sights on Moore glory with Pairofbrowneyes
14 January 2017Willoughby Court impresses for Grade Two honours at Warwick
Magic show delights Richard Phillips at Warwick
BHA chief Nick Rust hails news of Levy reform
Kelso call Sunday morning check
Pobbles Bay looking to take next step up the ladder at Warwick
Wetherby gets the go-ahead
Government announces Levy reform boost for racing
Nicky Henderson reveals setback for Supreme Novices' contender Jenkins
Alan King 'very happy' with Uxizandre as racecourse return nears
Divin Bere shines in Nicky Henderson hat-trick at Huntingdon
Peregrine Run all set for Warwick raid with Cheltenham in mind
Crack performer Mome puts Supreme credentials on the line at Punchestown
Valseur Lido set to miss rest of the season after meeting with injury setback
Jaleo team hoping he can shine in Lanzarote heat
Shotgun Paddy aiming to hit Classic target at Warwick
13 January 2017Richard Pitman salutes 'amazing' Aintree ace Brian Fletcher
John Egan handed 10-day riding ban at Lingfield
Evan Williams considers bypassing Cheltenham with Evening Hush
Baltimore Rock ready to roll in Fairyhouse mission
James Reveley planning to stay at the top of the charts
Tributes paid to 'great fellow' Brian Fletcher
Jamie Moore set for Ar Mad mount at Ascot
Huntingdon gets the go-ahead
Ruby Walsh says Kempton closure 'just makes sense'
Wetherby call morning check
Snow claims Sedgefield card
Brian Fletcher, rider of Grand National hero Red Rum, dies, aged 69
Final Venture nets big win for Paul Midgley in Dubai
Dream success for Michael Herrington with Doc Sportello at Newcastle
Hopes high for Classic Chase meeting at Warwick
Double delight for Paddy Brennan at Leicester
Kim Bailey considering Musselburgh prep for Festival-bound Charbel
Tom George - Without Kempton my career wouldn't have been the same
Cue Card and Un De Sceaux lead 48 in Ryanair Chase mix
Festival ace Douvan stands tall in Queen Mother entries