Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle
|Grade 1, Aintree 15:25
2m 4f, Class 1
|Thursday 7th April 2016|
1 Annie Power 4/9F
2 My Tent Or Yours 9/1
3 Nichols Canyon 11/2
6 ran Distances: 18l, 9l, 21l
TIME 5m 6.00s (slow by 23.00s)
Ruby Walsh secures a record-breaking fifth victory in the Aintree Hurdle aboard Queen of Aintree Annie Power
The brilliant Annie Power confirmed herself one of the all-time great jumping mares with a superb performance to take the Grade One Hurdle.
"That was only her third run of the season so I thought she might have improved since Cheltenham, or at the very least she wouldn't have gone backwards," sais trainer Willie Mullins.
"She came back well from Cheltenham and we've been very happy with the few bits of work she's done since then.
"We'll certainly have a look at Punchestown for her now, that's all that would be left for her in Britain or Ireland.
"As I said before, the very first day I saw her, she was the most like Dawn Run of any mare I'd seen. I'm just hoping that with her size she is still improving and getting stronger.
"She can carry weight and she could jump fences if that's what we want to do with her. With her size and scope, she could do anything.
"The Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle is a race I've always wanted to win. We've been second in it something like six times and it has been won by some fantastic horses."
Speaking about the British trainers' title race, Mullins added: "There's a lot of water to still flow under the bridge and races likes the Crabbie's Grand National and Scottish National will have a big say. We're just trying to convert some of our possibles into winners. "
Rich Ricci, whose wife Susannah owns the mare, added: "She's just a great mare to own. Her jumping has improved for whatever reason this season and this seems the right trip for her. We probably should have run in this two years ago but we went to the Stayers' Hurdle.
"She's very quick. She's only a youngster - she's eight and she's lightly-raced. She's improved from Cheltenham, which I wouldn't have believed. She looked better beforehand and better in her coat.
"That's just a wonderful performance and our first winner at Aintree, which is great. She's a privilege to own and to be a part of history."
Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle 2015 (Grade 1)
£200,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 4f, Class 1
|Pos||D||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||Annie Power (IRE) 4/9f||R Walsh
|W P Mullins||8|
|2nd||18||My Tent Or Yours (IRE) 9/1||B J Geraghty
|N J Henderson||9|
|3rd||9||Nichols Canyon 11/2||P Townend
|W P Mullins||6|
|4th||21||Court Minstrel (IRE) 100/1||Paul Moloney
|5th||42||Camping Ground (FR) 20/1||L P Aspell
|F||The New One (IRE) 8/1||Sam Twiston-Davies
|N A Twiston-Davies||8|
TENT BLOWN AWAY BY ANNIE, BUT FAR FROM DISGRACED
It would have been one of racing's great comebacks, if not for the super mare Annie Power.
That is a summary of Nicky Henderson's thoughts after My Tent Or Yours, who he trains for J P McManus, had been beaten for the second time in a month by the Willie Mullins-trained winner. Annie Power won the Grade One Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle by 18 lengths from Henderson's nine-year-old, who looked a danger turning in, but could not match her relentless gallop in the home straight.
My Tent Or Yours, who was second to Jezki in the 2014 Stan James Champion Hurdle, was then beaten at Ayr and forced onto the sidelines by injury for almost two years. Given the layoff he ran brilliantly to chase home Annie Power in this year's running of last month's Stan James Champion Hurdle, but could not reverse the places today. He did finish further ahead of Nichols Canyon, who was third today having filled the same slot at The Festival.
Henderson said: "Against Nichols Canyon you could say our horse has come on, but you would also have to say that we don't stay two and a half miles on ground that is softer than ideal. Annie stays and likes the ground, we probably don't stay and we definitely don't like the ground.
"When you think where he's come back from he's run well in two very lucrative races. Think what the world would be like without her [Annie Power]? Then they really would say I was clever!
"I wouldn't have thought he would go to Punchestown - we [him, McManus and jockey Barry Geraghty] just had three seconds on the subject of whether to send him chasing. There's a novices' chase at Bangor on September 3, but whether that is in J P's mind I don't know. He's a very good horse either way and we've got the best out of him without winning a race."
MINSTREL DOES US PROUD
Court Minstrel, who had a made a winning return to hurdling after a disappointing chasing season, returned to the winner's enclosure again today, all be it in the minor placing, when coming home fourth.
Court Minstrel's South Wales handler Evan Williams commented: "Delighted to finish where we did really, we had no right to so we are delighted. It is nice to take part and to run well - we are more than happy.
"He won't go chasing again; he was a good novice but against the best two-mile chasers all we will do is shorten his career and we are not prepared to do that so we will stick to conditions hurdle races and see what we can pick up along the way. The horse has done us proud."