John Quinn is likely to give Countrywide Flame one more run before going for glory in the Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
The son of Haafhd could not follow up his Fighting Fifth success when only fourth to Darlan in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day. However, the North Yorkshire trainer has lost none of his faith in the horse, who gave him a Festival success in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, and believes there will be other days for his stable star.
Quinn reports Countrywide Flame to have come out of his Kempton exertions in good form and will consider the possible options before heading to Prestbury Park for top honours.
"On the day there were no excuses and there will be another day when there's a bit of pace on and things like that, but the main thing is the horse is fine," said Quinn.
"All being well, he'll run before Cheltenham. I haven't really thought about it yet, but there's the Morebattle at Kelso and I'll enter him in the Irish Champion Hurdle.
"There's the Kingwell at Wincanton, but I'm not sure about that track for him. There are only probably only two or three places he can run, but if we're happy with him he'll definitely run before Cheltenham."
Kashmir Peak is Quinn's hope for the Triumph this spring after the former Ger Lyons inmate has shown his aptitude for jumps with solid victories at Market Rasen and Doncaster.
The trainer is also looking to give him another run ahead of the juvenile championship.
"He's in good fettle. He might go for the Trial race at Musselburgh early in February and there's a race in Leopardstown that month as well," said Quinn.
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