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Published: 12:26 | 23/2/16

Annie could power in Champion


Willie Mullins believes this could be the year to let Annie Power take her chance in the Stan James Champion Hurdle.

The brilliant mare has emerged as a possible contender for the two-mile championship following the news that Faugheen will miss the race through injury.

Mullins confirmed Faugheen's season-ending injury shortly before Annie Power strolled to victory in her seasonal reappearance at Punchestown last month and in the wake of the race the trainer hinted that she could be supplemented for the Champion.

At the moment the OLBG.com Mares' Hurdle remains the target for the eight-year-old but with Faugheen out, Mullins admits there will never be a better time to run her in the Champion Hurdle.

"I know it's not an ideal prep, only one run before it, but I think probably plenty of horses have done that in the past when you actually think about it," Mullins told At The Races.

"If she was to go for a Champion Hurdle, this is probably the year she should have a crack at it.

"She should probably be going to Aintree for the Aintree Hurdle, I think that is more her race, leaving the others to Cheltenham.

"I don't think she's suitable for the World Hurdle so it's just a straight call between the Champion and the Mares', with Vroum Vroum Mag a possible for that in the same ownership. If we want to give Annie Power a shot at it, this looks the year to do it."

Annie Power was fitted with a hood for her comeback race at Punchestown but Mullins does not feel he will have to apply headgear at Cheltenham.

"We'll decide about a hood nearer the day. I thought she settled well, but obviously she was giving Ruby (Walsh) a huge feel which is a good thing. She wears it at home when she's fresh and well.

"I'm hoping to get plenty of work into her before Cheltenham, so she might not need it. I don't think she will in a race like the Champion Hurdle."

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