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Published: 15:32 | 29/2/16

Champion the likely aim for Annie


Willie Mullins has given the strongest indication yet that Annie Power will be supplemented for the Stan James Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

The eight-year-old had been the hot favourite for the OLBG.com Mares' Hurdle but it is looking increasingly likely that she will go for the Champion Hurdle following the season-ending injury to Faugheen.

The mare made a winning return at Punchestown earlier this month, the same day it was revealed that Faugheen would miss Cheltenham due to a suspensory injury, and connections are set to pay the supplementary fee required to add her to the field for the March 15 feature.

The switch will pave the way for Vroum Vroum Mag to line up in the Mares' Hurdle in her place.

"We've got to supplement her (Annie Power), but Vroum Vroum Mag would look a possible for the Mares' Hurdle and if that's the case I would imagine Annie would go for the Champion," said Mullins.

"Going back two years we felt Annie could be a Champion Hurdle horse, but we had Hurricane Fly in it and you'd have to think maybe this is the year she should run in it.

"I don't think coming back to two miles will be any trouble to her. When you consider how many horses we could enter for a Champion Hurdle she'd be as fast as any of them.

"She's good and keen at home and I'm happy with that as we need her to get all that work.

Annie Power was fitted with a hood for her comeback race at Punchestown and she is likely to wear the headgear at Cheltenham.

"I'd imagine she'll wear the hood, it will certainly make her easier to ride. With the pace they'll be going in the Champion she probably need not have it, but it will cost nothing to wear and it might make her easier to manage," the trainer stated.

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