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Published: 12:13 | 13/3/16

Annie Power heads Champion Hurdle field

Every horse stood its ground at the final declaration stage.

Annie Power leads a final field of 13 ahead of the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday at Cheltenham after every horse stood its ground at the final declaration stage.

The mare, who was supplemented by owner Rich Ricci after an injury to last year’s winner Faugheen, will go into the race as the Willie Mullins number one under Ruby Walsh.

Paul Townend takes the ride aboard the Mullins second string Nichols Canyon, while the champion trainer is also represented in the race by Sempre Medici.

The Henry de Bromhead trained Identity Thief is the final Irish-based contender declared.

Nicky Henderson sends five to post for the opening day feature - My Tent Or Yours, last year's Triumph Hurdle winner Peace And Co, Hargam, Sign Of A Victory and Top Notch.

Nigel Twiston-Davis is represented by The New One, having his third run in the race.

The second supplemented entry, Lil Rockerfeller, takes his place for Neil King while Robert Walford's Camping Ground and the Paul Nicholls-trained Old Guard complete the list.

Nicholls revealed on Sunday that he was worried about Old Guard's participation after he worked badly on Saturday and a final decision about his participation will be made on Monday morning.

"I have declared Old Guard for the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday as he worked much better this morning," Nicholls told Betfair.

"But after he cooled off he was very slightly stiff behind for the second day running.

"My head lad Clifford Baker and I wonder if he has a minor muscular issue somewhere and we will be moving heaven and earth to get Old Guard spot on for Tuesday.

"But after speaking to his three owners earlier today I agreed that we will not be making a firm decision about his participation in the Champion Hurdle until he schools over eight flights of hurdles at home tomorrow morning.

"And if we are unhappy with Old Guard in any way after that then of course he will not be going to Cheltenham.

"But if he schools well and is fine afterwards then he has every chance of running the next day.

"By his usual standards it was a little disappointing and afterwards he showed minor signs of stiffness behind once he cooled off.

"But last night he was 100 per cent sound and again this morning before our vet Buffy Shirley-Beavan checked him over and gave him a clean bill of health before his work out.

"Either way we will keep people informed of the situation."

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