Cheltenham Festival News
|Tuesday 4th March 2014|
Market Move For Mullins’ Mare
Annie Power has been backed into ante-post favourite for the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival later this month, suggesting Willie Mullins’ unbeaten mare is likely to go for the 3m contest at the meeting.
The six-year old does still has an entry in the Champion Hurdle and David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle at Prestbury Park in her first visit to the Festival, but the support over the last couple of days in the Cheltenham betting markets does indicate her target is to take on the four-time winner Big Buck’s in the feature race on day three.
Annie Power started her career at Galway in August 2012 where she opened up with a win when going off the odds-on favourite. Since then, she has scored on a further nine occasions.
Mullins sent his runner across to the UK for the first time this campaign for an outing at Ascot on her seasonal reappearance. She was able to get the better of former Festival winner Zarkandar by five lengths with Ruby Walsh on board.
On New Year’s Day, Annie Power made the trip across the Irish Sea once again to appear at Cheltenham. On that occasion, the margin of victory was bigger as Zarkandar was unable to match the pace of the mare up the hill at Prestbury Park.
Her final preparation run before the Festival came at Doncaster at the end of January in the Grade Two contest of the card for mares only. She extended her unbeaten record at the Yorkshire track and proved she had the speed to win over 2m.
Annie Power’s biggest threat in the World Hurdle is likely to be Big Buck’s. Paul Nicholls’ runner has dominated this race in recent years but was denied the chance to win it for the fifth consecutive year running in 2013 as he was ruled out through injury.